Mr. President, it is my pleasure to present Ambassador Shirley E. Barnes for the degree of Doctor of Laws.
Ambassador Barnes has had a distinguished career in the diplomatic service of the United States and in the U.S. State Department. Her highest achievement as a Career Foreign Service Officer was to represent the American people and the President of the United States as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Madagascar. It is fitting that we recognize her accomplishments at this time.
Prior to joining the U.S. State Department, Ambassador Barnes held positions with the Ford Foundation in Congo-Kinshasa and the African-American Institute in New York City. She was also a vice president at several major advertising agencies in New York. In the Foreign Service, Ambassador Barnes served in Cairo, Egypt; Dakar, Senegal; West Berlin, Germany; Sofia, Bulgaria; Sanaa, Yemen, and in Strasbourg, France. At this last posting she was U.S. Consul General.
At the U.S. State Department, Ambassador Barnes served in the Office of Management Policy and Programming and in the Bureau of European and Canadian Affairs, where she was the Director of Western European Affairs. She spent an academic year at the National War College at Fort McNair and participated in the Senior Seminar, the U.S. Government's most distinguished senior level training program.
In 2004 Ambassador Barnes founded a small, non-profit foundation, The Barnes Findley Foundation, whose objectives are to promote economic development and educational and job training programs for African girls and young women. The Foundation's special commitment is on efforts to prevent human trafficking, the kidnapping and enslavement, mainly of women and children.
Ambassador Barnes exemplifies the qualities that Knox College seeks to develop in its students. Her international career and personal qualities make her an important role model. She speaks fluent French and is an avid admirer and collector of art of the African diaspora. Among her passions are jazz and American history, in particular African-American history. Her intimate knowledge of Harlem in New York City is an important part of her personal history. With her family she lived on Sugar Hill in Harlem, an area that was, during the Harlem Renaissance, a residential beacon for many African Americans seeking a better life. At that time Harlem also attracted numerous African-American artists and writers.
This is not the first time that Ambassador Barnes has visited Knox College. She spoke at the Martin Luther Day celebration in 1998. Over the years she has shown a deep and abiding interest in Knox, its history, and its students.
Mr. President, in honor of her international and humanitarian commitment and of her prestigious career in the service of the U.S. Government, it is my pleasure to present Ambassador Shirley E. Barnes for the degree of Doctor of Laws.