Ambassador Bisa Williams is co-Founder and Managing Director of Williams Strategy Advisors, LLC (WSA), a problem-solving, business, and foreign affairs advisory consulting firm. For the last 3 years, she has led The Carter Center’s effort as Independent Observer of implementation of the Peace Agreement in Mali. She is also a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. Before co-founding WSA with her brother Paul Williams, Jr., Bisa was a career member of the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State. During her 30+ years in the Foreign Service, she served tours in Guinea, Panama, Mauritius, France, the US Mission to the UN (NY), and Washington, DC, including two years at the National Security Council, The White House, and three years as Coordinator of Cuban Affairs at the Department of State. As Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Bisa led the US delegation to talks in Havana, Cuba, ending a seven-year hiatus of high-level direct discussions. Her accomplishments were recognized in LeoGrande/Kornbluh’s book Back Channel to Cuba. She was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2010 as Ambassador to Niger where she served for 3 years. After serving two years as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs, she retired from the Foreign Service in 2015. Bisa speaks French, Spanish, and Portuguese and is the recipient of numerous Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards from the Department of State. She also holds the distinction of being the first Department of State officer to be awarded the “Agency Seal Medal” from the Director of the Central Intelligence Agency for exceptional contributions to U.S. national security while serving as Ambassador to Niger. Ambassador Williams holds a Master of Science in National Security Strategy from the National War College of the National Defense University in Washington, DC, a Masters of Arts, and is ABD in Comparative Literature from the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude from Yale.
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