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Pamela Spratlen (MPP ’81)

U.S. Ambassador to Uzbekistan, U.S. Department of State

Pamela Spratlen

The US Ambassador to Uzbekistan, Pamela L. Spratlen, was nominated by President Barack Obama on July 28 2014, and confirmed by the Senate on November 20, 2014. She was sworn in as United States Ambassador to Uzbekistan on December 18, 2014.

A career member of the Foreign Service, Ambassador Spratlen has over 20 years of policy and leadership accomplishment across a wide variety of assignments. Previous to her appointment as Ambassador to Uzbekistan, she was the US Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, and prior to that, she was the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Astana, Kazakhstan. Ambassador Spratlen’s senior Washington assignments include her roles as Director of Western European Affairs (2007-08), Director of Central Asian Affairs (2006-2007), Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Asia (December 2007 - May 2008) and Special Assistant to the Counselor of the State Department (2005-2006). Ambassador Spratlen served overseas as Consul General in Vladivostok, Russia (2002-2004). Prior to that, she served as Assistance Coordinator at the US Embassy in Moscow (2000-2002). She was a Fellow and Diplomat-in-Residence at the East-West Center in Honolulu in 2004-2005. Ambassador Spratlen served in two multilateral missions, including the U.S Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (USOECD-Paris, 1995-1998) and the US Mission to the Organization of American States (USOAS, 1992-94). She worked in the Executive Secretariat of the State Department (1999-2000) and spent her first tour in Guatemala (1990-1992).

Pamela came to the Goldman School with an interest in domestic policy. After working for the California legislature as a committee staffer for several years, she turned to the Foreign Service. She passed the rigorous Foreign Service exam and was hired by the State Department as an economic officer. GSPP classmate Marilyn Katz (MPP ’81) was present at her swearing-in ceremony.

Pamela encourages students who may be interested in international careers in general, and in the Foreign Service in particular, to focus on “strength and contribution.”

“Know what you're good at and go for that,” she advises. “Find and exploit your strengths. Stay flexible and peer ahead. In 1981, when I graduated from GSPP, the Soviet Union seemed assured to last, and [in] the country where I am now, the US ambassador did not exist. There was no real Internet. The idea of an African American US president or Ambassador in most countries was unthinkable. The world is changing. You have made a good choice to study policy analysis.  But you need to stay flexible, cultivate mentors and networks.  Keep yourself agile and generally skilled in case you need or want to pivot to take advantage of opportunities. And don't forget to reach out and back to help others along the way.”

Ambassador Spratlen received her bachelor’s degree from Wellesley College and she also holds master’s degrees from the Army War College (Strategic Studies - Distance, 2006) and the University of California, Berkeley’s Goldman School (Public Policy, 1981). Ambassador Spratlen has received numerous awards, including the Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards at State. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, she served for almost nine years as a professional committee staff member in the California Legislature. Ambassador Spratlen speaks Russian, French, and Spanish. 

Last updated on 09/06/2016