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Special Advisor appointed for Great Lakes

Secretary of State Clinton recently appointed Ambassador Barrie Walkley as the Department's Special Advisor for the Great Lakes and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). As Special Advisor, Ambassador Walkley will support the efforts of resident U.S. ambassadors in the region and help coordinate efforts in Washington on complex issues that cut across borders and bureaucratic divisions.

Ambassador Walkley's extensive diplomatic background in the region, including his recent role as our senior official in South Sudan and his past service in the DRC, makes him an ideal choice for this position.

Secretary Clinton has tasked Ambassador Walkley with ensuring that the United States provides all the support it can to help the Great Lakes region fulfill its potential and become a space of sustainable peace and security.

Ambassador Walkley will work closely with Secretary Clinton, Assistant Secretary for African Affairs Johnnie Carson, U.S.
ambassadors and missions in the field, and other U.S. government officials to:

  • Shape, devise and coordinate U.S. policy on the cross-border security, political, economic and social issues arising in the Great Lakes and the DRC;
  • Support regional and U.S. efforts to stop human suffering and violence in the region, particularly including sexual and gender-based violence, and promote political, economic and social reconciliation;
  • Promote consensus internationally on ways forward in the Great Lakes and the DRC.

American ambassadors accredited to the Great Lakes countries and the DRC will continue to have primary responsibility for bilateral relations with host governments.

Ambassador Walkley’s Bio

During 2010-2011, Ambassador R. Barrie Walkley was the most senior U.S. official in South Sudan, assisting South Sudan's mandate on self-determination and the emergence of South Sudan as the world's newest country.  He directed the opening of the U.S. Embassy in Juba on July 9, 2011.

Ambassador Walkley served as Ambassador to the Gabonese Republic (2004-2007), accredited concurrently as Ambassador to the Republic of Sao Tome and Principe.  Previously, he was Ambassador to the Republic of Guinea (2001-2004).  He served as Deputy Chief of Mission in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (1998-2001).

In addition to assignments at the State Department in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Walkley served in Yaound, Lahore, Pretoria, Islamabad, London, and Port Louis.  In 1993, during the international intervention in Somalia ("Operation Restore Hope"), he was seconded to the United Nations and sent to Somalia, where he served as the U.N. spokesman in Mogadishu.

Ambassador Walkley holds degrees from the University of California Santa Barbara (UCSB), the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA), and the University of Southern California (USC).  He is the recipient of two U.S. Presidential Awards, as well as numerous State Department Superior Honor and other awards.