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The Honorable Ruth A. Davis

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Information about The Honorable Ruth A. Davis

Profile image of The Honorable Ruth A. Davis

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Foreign Ambassador

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Italian, American, Chinese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Spain
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/28/1943
Birth Location:
Phoenix, Arizona

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Foreign Ambassador

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Beige
Favorite Food:
Italian, American, Chinese Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Spring
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Spain
Favorite Quote:
None

Birthplace

Born:
5/28/1943
Birth Location:
Phoenix
See how The Honorable Ruth A. Davis is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Ambassador Ruth A. Davis was born on May 28, 1943 in Phoenix, Arizona to parents Anderson and Edith Davis. She attended E.R. Carter and E.C. Clements Elementary Schools in Atlanta, Georgia, where she grew up. Davis graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1962. A cross-country family vacation as a child was an epiphany and changed her life, convincing her that she wanted to travel and see the world.

From 1962 to 1966, Davis attended Spelman College in Atlanta where she earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and graduated magna cum laude. While attending Spelman, she spent fifteen months studying and traveling in Europe and the Middle East as a Merrill Scholar. In 1968, Davis received her master’s degree from the School of Social Work at the University of California at Berkeley.

Davis is the first African American female career ambassador. She joined the Foreign Service in 1969 and was assigned as Consular Officer in Kinshasa, Zaire until 1971. She also served in Nairobi, Kenya from 1971 to 1973, Tokyo, Japan from 1973 to 1976 and Naples, Italy from 1976 to1980. After completing her assignment in Italy she returned to the United States working as Special Advisor for International Affairs for the Washington, D.C. Government. Finally, in 1992, Davis reached the height of her profession when she was appointed Ambassador to the Republic of Benin. She served in that post until 1996.

Ambassador Davis is credited with playing a significant role in the organization of the 1992 Barcelona Olympic games and in Atlanta’s successful bid for the 1996 games. She is the recipient of several prestigious awards including a Presidential Distinguished Service Award in 1999 and again in 2002. In 2003, Davis was awarded The Secretary’s Distinguished Award by Secretary of State Colin Powell. She served as director general of the Foreign Service and director of human resources from 2001 to 2003. It was here she developed the “School of Leadership and Management,” one of her proudest accomplishments. Davis is committed to diversifying the Foreign Service by recruiting potential diplomats at the college level.

Ambassador Davis is single and resides in Washington, D.C.

See how The Honorable Ruth A. Davis is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Ruth Davis interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Ruth Davis lists her favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Ruth Davis recalls her mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Ruth Davis describes her father
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Ruth Davis discusses her family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Ruth Davis shares childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Ruth Davis remembers growing up with her sister
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Ruth Davis explains why she was born in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Ruth Davis recalls her elementary school years
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Ruth Davis recounts her high school experiences
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Ruth Davis remembers her college aspirations
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Ruth Davis explains her decision to attend Spelman College
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Ruth Davis shares childhood memories
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Ruth Davis recalls her college and graduate years
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Ruth Davis discusses the impact of the Civil Rights Movement on global politics
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Ruth Davis remembers her introduction to the State Department
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Ruth Davis recounts how she became a career ambassador
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Ruth Davis describes her travels overseas in the early 1970s
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Ruth Davis recalls her work for the State Department in Washington D.C.
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Ruth Davis describes overcoming racism as Consul General to Spain
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Ruth Davis details her experiences in Benin after gaining her ambassadorship
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Ruth Davis recounts her career after returning from Benin
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Ruth Davis discusses the lack of minorities in the Foreign Service
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Ruth Davis reflects on her life and career
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis is crowned princess of Ketou, Benin, 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Photo - Ruth Davis trains for the Foreign Service, 1991
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Photo - Ruth Davis with Colin Powell at the Foreign Service Institute, Washington, D.C., 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis with Beninese children and parents, Cotonou, Benin, 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Photo - Ruth Davis's mother greets U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Washington, D.C., July 13, 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Photo - Ruth Davis is being sworn in by U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Washington D.C., July 13, 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Photo - Ruth Davis with U.S. President George W. Bush, Washington, D.C., 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis visits a family near Ouidah, Benin, ca. 1993
  • Tape: 5 Story: 9 - Photo - Ruth Davis with Pasqual Maragall, Barcelona, Spain, 1990
  • Tape: 5 Story: 10 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis with Benin President Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo and U.S. President Bill Clinton, Washington, D.C., 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 11 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis with Benin First Lady Rosine Soglo and U.S. First Lady Hillary Clinton, Washington, D.C., 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 12 - Photo - Ruth Davis with Madeleine Albright at the Foreign Service Institute, Washinton, D.C., 1999
  • Tape: 5 Story: 13 - Photo - Ruth Davis with Colin Powell at the Foreign Service Institute, Washington, D.C., 2001
  • Tape: 5 Story: 14 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis as liaison to U.S. Vice President Al Gore during his official visit to Benin, 1991
  • Tape: 5 Story: 15 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis as liaison to Benin President Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo during his visit to Turner Broadcasting System Headquarters, Atlanta, Georgia, ca. 1994
  • Tape: 5 Story: 16 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis presents her credentials to Benin President Nicéphore Dieudonné Soglo, Benin, December 1992
  • Tape: 5 Story: 17 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis reviews Beninese troops, Benin, December 1992
  • Tape: 5 Story: 18 - Photo - Ambassador Ruth Davis's family celebrating her swearing-in as Ambassador to Benin, October, 1992