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Barbara J. Stephenson

Barbara Jean Stephenson (born 1958)[1] is an American diplomat and has served as President of the American Foreign Service Association since 2015. She was formerly the Dean of the Leadership and Management School of the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia. Formerly, she was Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in London, and acted as Chargé d'Affaires following the departure of Ambassador Louis Susman.[2] She is the former United States Ambassador to the Republic of Panama. She was confirmed by the U.S. Senate and was appointed by President Barack Obama in the Summer of 2010.[3]

Dr. Barbara Jean Stephenson
Stephenson Barbara USEmbassy.jpg
Dean of the Leadership and Management School
at the Foreign Service Institute
Assumed office
Personal details
Born1958 (age 59–60)

Stephenson is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, and has previously served as Deputy Coordinator for Iraq at the U.S. Department of State. She received her Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in English all from the University of Florida.[4]

In August 2009, Stephenson wrote in a diplomatic cable that Panamanian president Ricardo Martinelli had asked her for wiretaps on his political opponents in which she noted his "bullying style" and "autocratic tendencies".[5] A copy of the cable was released in December 2010 by WikiLeaks. Martinelli's administration stated after the leak that "help in tapping the telephones of politicians was never requested" and that Stephenson was "mistaken" in her interpretation. Ambassador Stephenson's assessment was vindicated when [6] the Panamanian government ruled to press corruption charges against Martinelli and to prosecute two former Secretaries of Panama's National Security Council on illegal wiretapping charges.[5][7]


  1. ^ Barbara Jean Stephenson (1958–)
  2. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-11-05. Retrieved 2013-11-20.
  3. ^ "English Alumna Named Ambassador to Panama | UF College of Liberal Arts and Sciences News". Archived from the original on 2008-10-15. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  4. ^ "University of Florida News - English alumna named ambassador to Panama". 2008-05-28. Archived from the original on 2008-09-28. Retrieved 2009-02-20.
  5. ^ a b William Booth (December 27, 2010). "Mexican request for U.S. help in drug war detailed". The Washington Post.  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required). Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  6. ^[permanent dead link]
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