A thirty-year veteran of the American Foreign Service, Barbara Stephenson was elected President of the American Foreign Service Association in June 2015 in an election that broke records for voter participation. As Dean of the Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute, she has worked for the past two years on improving leadership and management throughout the State Department, both through training and through the Department-wide Culture of Leadership Initiative she launched and co-chaired. She served as Ambassador to Panama and as the first woman Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’affaires at the United States Embassy in London. As Deputy Senior Advisor to the Secretary and Deputy Coordinator for Iraq (2006-2008), she won the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award for developing and implementing the “civilian surge” that helped improve governance and reduce violence in Iraq’s provinces—without breaking the back of the career Foreign Service. Before taking up Iraq duties, Ambassador Stephenson served as Director for Planning in the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. From 2001-2004, as the American Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland, she worked on the Northern Ireland Peace Process. From 1998-2001, she served as Consul General and Chief of Mission in Curaçao, where was responsible for the five islands of the Netherlands Antilles as well as Aruba, both of which became hosts of U.S. Air Force Forward Operating Locations during her tenure. Earlier in her career, Ambassador Stephenson served as special assistant to Under Secretaries for Political Affairs Peter Tarnoff and Tom Pickering, covering European affairs, including the war-torn Balkans. Other assignments have included desk officer for the UK, political-military officer in South Africa, and political officer in The Hague and San Salvador. She began her career in Panama, serving first as an economic officer and then as a political officer. Ambassador Stephenson holds a Ph.D. in English literature. She speaks Spanish and Dutch and reads French. She and her husband Matthew Furbush have two children, a daughter (25) and a son (16).