- The Washington Times - Monday, March 30, 2009


The first black U.S. ambassador to South Africa is returning to Washington after spending the past 13 years as a professor of international studies at the University of Oklahoma.

Edward Perkins, 80, spent 24 years in the U.S. Foreign Service after serving in the Army and Marine Corps, and broke the color barrier in several positions. He accepted President Reagan’s appointment as ambassador to South Africa in 1986, becoming the first black American envoy to the white-ruled government of the apartheid era. Mr. Perkins became the first black director-general of the Foreign Service in 1989.

Mr. Perkins also served as ambassador to Liberia in 1985, to the United Nations from 1992 to 1993 and to Australia from 1993 to 1996 until he retired and took the position in Oklahoma.

He told reporters at the university that he has not yet decided what he will do upon his return to Washington.


Foreign visitors in Washington this week:


Justice Minister Angelino Alfano of Italy, who meets Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano. On Tuesday, he meets Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.

Environment Minister Stefania Prestigiacomo of Italy, who meets Lisa P. Jackson, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency; Michael Froman, deputy national security adviser; and members of Congress.

Dong Kurn Lee of South Korea, president of Rotary International, who holds a 2 p.m. news conference at the National Press Club to discuss efforts to combat polio.


Eduardo Ferrero Costa, former Peruvian ambassador to the United States, who addresses the Council of the Americas on the global economic crisis.

Javier Comboni, former finance minister of Bolivia; Marlene Fernandez, former Bolivian ambassador to the United States and the Organization of American States; and Eduardo Paz, president of the Business Chamber of Santa Cruz, Bolivia. They discuss political divisions in the country under President Evo Morales in a briefing at the Hudson Institute.

Menachem Klein of Bar-Ilan University in Israel, who discusses a “new approach” to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in a forum hosted by the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Americans for Peace Now and the Israel Policy Forum and Middle East Institute at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

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