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Bernadette M.
Allen, current U.S.
Ambassador to Niger
Bernadette M. Allen is a United States foreign service officer and ambassador. She is the current U.S. Ambassador to Niger.

Education and career

Allen was born in Washington, D.C.marker and raised in Seat Pleasant, Marylandmarker. She earned a B.A. in French Civilization and Linguistics at Central College in Pella, Iowamarker in 1978. She studied abroad for a year in 1977, earning a Certificate in French Civilization from the Sorbonnemarker in Parismarker. From 1987–1989 she completed an M.A. in Human Resources Management at George Washington Universitymarker while handling her regular duties at the Department of State. She speaks French and Mandarin Chinese.

Allen was commissioned into the U.S. diplomatic service in January 1980. On October 26, 2005, she was nominated by President Bush to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on February 16, 2006, and sworn in as ambassador on March 28, 2006.

State Department career

Foreign assignments

  • General Services Officer/Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Bujumburamarker, Burundimarker (1980-1982)
  • Temporary duty assignment as Consul at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, Japanmarker (1984)
  • Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Manilamarker, Philippinesmarker (1982-1984)
  • Consular Section Chief at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhoumarker, Chinamarker (1991-1994)
  • Chief of the Montrealmarker Consular Section (2000-2002)
  • Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Montreal (2002-2005)

Domestic assignments

  • Desk officer in the Africa Bureau’s Regional Affairs Office (1985-1987)
  • Visa officer in the Visa Office Coordination Division (1985-1989)
  • Studied Mandarin Chinese at National Foreign Affairs Training Centermarker (NFATC) (1989) and in Taipeimarker, Taiwanmarker (1990)
  • Deputy Director of Consular Training at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center (NFATC) (1994-1996)
  • Legislative Management Officer (1996-1998)
  • Director of the Visa Office Coordination Division (1998-2000)


  • Superior Honor Award for leadership as Consul General in Montreal
  • Meritorious Honor Award for outstanding managerial and professional skills in Guangzhou, China
  • Superior Honor Award for outstanding leadership and performance as Visa Coordination Division Director

Affiliations and activities

  • Lifetime membership in the U.S. Tennis Association
  • Big Sisters of the Washington, DC Metropolitan area volunteer
  • Usher Board Chairman at the Carmody Hills Baptist Church in Seat Pleasant, Maryland
  • President of the Central College African-American Student Organization (Pella, Iowa)
  • Member of service sorority Alpha Delta Epsilon (Pella, Iowa)


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