New U.S Ambassador to Nigeria presents Credentials to Buhari.

U.S. Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria Mary Beth Leonard presented her credentials to His Excellency President Muhammadu Buhari at a ceremony at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on December 24, 2019.  The U.S. Senate confirmed Ambassador Leonard on August 1, 2019 after she was nominated for the position by U.S. President Donald J. Trump on June 24, 2019.  She was sworn in as the Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Nigeria on October 4, 2019 in Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Leonard has said she will leverage U.S. diplomacy, foreign assistance, and the private sector to partner with Nigeria to expand economic growth, increase security, and counter corruption. 

A native of Boston Massachusetts, Ambassador Leonard, graduated magna cum laude with a B.A. from Boston University. She holds a master’s degree in international relations, with an emphasis on African studies, from the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies.  In 2004, she received a Master of Security and Strategic studies from the U.S. Naval War College, with distinction.  She is fluent in French, Spanish, Afrikaans, and Dutch.

From 2016-2019, Ambassador Leonard was the Representative of the United States of America to the African Union, with the rank and status of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, serving concurrently as U.S. Permanent Representative to the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA).  She was previously the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Mali from 2011-2014.  Her service in Mali was recognized with the Department’s Diplomacy for Human Rights Award in 2013, an honor that annually recognizes a U.S. Chief of Mission who has demonstrated extraordinary commitment to defending human rights and advancing democratic principles in his or her host country.

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