Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Diplomat Natalie E. Brown, who will replace Ambassador Malac early next year at the US Mission in Kampala, has served in several hot spots in Africa before getting the new appointment to Uganda.
A career member of the US Foreign Service, Brown carries experience working in countries of semi-democratic and authoritarian leadership. She has vast experience working in Africa, Middle East and domestically in the USA.
“In a career that has spanned almost three decades, she has garnered experience in both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy with a strong focus on Africa. That experience, coupled with her distinguished record of leadership, make her an excellent candidate to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Uganda,” according to a September report for the committee on foreign relations of the US Senate.
She has served as Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Asmara, Eritrea, since 2016. She also served at the U.S. Mission to the UN agencies in Rome, in Amman, Jordan; Kuwait, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and in Conakry, Guinea. Natalie speaks French, studied Arabic and German and Amharic. She also speaks a little Italian, and Tigrinya, an Afro-Asiatic dialect used in Eritrea.
According to the US Department of State’s Certificate of competency for nominees to be chiefs of mission, she has garnered both bilateral and multilateral diplomacy with a strong focus on Africa and has got a distinguished record of leadership thus making her qualified to be the next US Ambassador in Uganda.
“I’ve done a little bit of everything, from ordering supplies for the embassy to managing assistance funds. I’ve spent the past three years working on food security issues with the UN agencies charged with increasing agriculture production and reducing hunger,” Brown says in Women in Foreign Policy.
Natalie E. Brown served in the North African country of Tunisia at the time of the Tunisian Revolution. She witnessed the Tunisian revolution an intensive 28-day campaign against the government corruption, social inequalities and unemployment that saw the ousting of the President Ben Ali in January 2011. Ben Ali had ruled the country for 22 years.
While in Tunisia, Brown says her role was to keep others strong. She describes herself as a resilient person who does not back down from challenges, but also a crisis manager and this is what has kept her going over the years in her career spanning almost three decades.
“When I was assigned to Tunisia, our Embassy was attacked, and there were people who depended on me. I needed to be resilient so they could do their jobs.” Natalie said in an interview with Women in Foreign Policy, an online journal that inspires girls and women to pursue careers in foreign policy.
She is a free-spirited person who loves cooking, art and Music. Brown’s love for Art Paintings, can be see-through her regular social media posts and comments on various kinds of arts pieces and their uniqueness. She particularly loves coffee paintings and has always appreciated the expression portrayed in the art and the composure.
Brown’s journey as a diplomat was not an easy one. She went through a complex vetting process to finally become an Ambassador. However, the road for equal opportunity for a woman, let alone an African American was bumpy as few were considered into service. Luckily for Natalie, climbing the diplomatic ladder was a mix of positives and negatives.
She joined the State Department shortly after Alison Palmer, a diplomat, filed a lawsuit against the State Department for discrimination and won. This gave many women a chance, as the state department focused on employing more women and their growth in service. Natalie says the success of this lawsuit helped her in her career.
“They gave me opportunities that otherwise would have been denied to me. At the same time, people would say you got in because you’re a woman and you’re black.” Natalie says.
Brown earned her B.S from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Washington, D.C. in 1988 and was awarded her M.S. from the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College in Quantico, VA, in 1999. She is the recipient numerous State Department awards recognizing her performance. A capable linguist, she speaks French and Arabic and has studied Italian, German, Amharic, and Tigrinya.
She is from Omaha, Nebraska. Her two dogs, Cashmere, from the Animal Welfare League of Arlington, Virginia, and Riko, adopted in Kuwait, travel with her.
Brown will be stepping into and filling Deborah Ruth Malac’s big shoes as her tenure comes to an end. Malac’s stay in Uganda has been that of advocating for rights and freedom of Ugandans, but also supporting women and the health sector. She has personally taken to the streets in the protest against the murder of women in Entebbe and condemned Government action against the opposition and civilian.
Brown meanwhile has not been in the news, perhaps due to the fact that this will be her first posting as a full Ambassador.