Ambassador Aurelia (Rea) Brazeal retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in 2008, with the rank of Career Minister, after a distinguished 40-year career. She is an expert in leadership, management, strategic planning, crisis management, economic and trade negotiations and is adept at engaging constructively with disparate audiences and resolving complex problems. She was a pioneer in being the first to serve in newly created positions and is the first African American woman career Foreign Service officer to be promoted into the Senior Foreign Service and the first to be nominated as an Ambassador.
She served most recently as Ambassador to Ethiopia, previously to Kenya, and initially to The Federated States of Micronesia. She also served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia and the Pacific with policy responsibility for 22 countries. This position included policy responsibility for the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) as an organization and the ASEAN Regional Forum, the premier security/political body for the region. Some additional assignments included being the first Dean of the Leadership and Management School at the Foreign Service Institute as well as Dean of the Senior Seminar, Minister-Counselor for Economics at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo, Japan, the first Deputy Director for Economics in the State Department Japan office, detail to the U.S. Treasury Department, tours in the Economic Bureau and the State Department Secretariat. During her career, Ms. Brazeal received several awards including Presidential Performance and Superior Honor awards.
Ambassador Brazeal is from Atlanta, Georgia, and received her Bachelor’s Degree from Spelman College and her Master’s Degree from Columbia University. She undertook additional postgraduate study at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. She served five terms on the Spelman College Board of Trustees. She works with the Charles B. Rangel fellowship program that brings diversity to the Foreign Service. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, The Far East Luncheon Group, the American Foreign Service Association, and The Senior Seminar Alumni Association. She is the immediate past President of the Association of Black American Ambassadors. She serves on the Advisory Boards of the Morehouse College Andrew Young Center for International Affairs and The Encampment for Citizenship.