Image: Wikimedia Commons
The Institute for the Study of Diplomacy (ISD) is saddened to learn of the passing of Ambassador (ret.) Edward Perkins, who died on Saturday evening at the age of 92. Ambassador Perkins was a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, retiring in 1996 with the rank of Career Minister. He served as U.S. ambassador to Australia, the United Nations, Liberia, and most notably, as ambassador in the final days of apartheid in South Africa. As Director General of the Foreign Service, his commitment to a broadly diverse Foreign Service at all levels of the profession has been a lasting legacy to the quality of American diplomacy. His career represents a deep commitment to global public service and the profession of diplomacy, two values very dear to us at ISD.
Ambassador Perkins continued his commitment to service until the very end of his life, including as President of the Association of Black American Ambassadors (ABAA) and through his involvement with other projects advancing the work of diplomacy.
Ambassador James I. Gadsden, Director of ISD’s McHenry Global Public Service Fellowship Program — and a member of ABAA and former member of the ISD Board of Advisers — adds: “He meant so much to so many of us who can remember clearly how much he kindly inspired, advised, and helped us along our way.”
Ambassador Perkins was, quite simply, a towering figure of American diplomacy. He was a gracious strength and a defender of the best of American diplomacy and young, aspiring diplomats. He will always be honored, and deeply missed.
Barbara K. Bodine, Director