This is a series of profoundly gifted members of our community that have contributed much with no or little public recognition. We honor our own Today we share, Sylvia Stanfield.
Sylvia Stanfield, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister-Counselor, took up her post as U.S. Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to Brunei in November 1999. She was appointed by President William J. Clinton, July 1, 1999.
Brunei, officially the State of Brunei Darussalam, is a sultanate (pop. 295,000), in northwest Borneo, in two coastal enclaves surrounded by Malaysia. A British protectorate after 1888, Brunei was granted self-government in 1971 and became independent in 1984.
Ambassador Stanfield was born October 28, 1943, in Harris, Texas. She earned a B.A. degree from Western College for Women in Oxford, Ohio 1965. As an East-West Center grantee, she received an M.A. degree in Asian Studies from the University of Hawaii and continued her studies at the University of Hong Kong School of Oriental Studies and Linguistics in Chinese.
Her primary area of specialization has been Asian Affairs. She began her career with the Department of State in 1968. Her first overseas assignment was Vice Consul with the then American Embassy in Taipei, Taiwan.
Her assignments have included tours as a political officer with the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong and the U.S. Embassy in Beijing. Ambassador Stanfield has served as a Watch Officer in the Department of State Operations Center, as a political and economic/commercial officer in the Office of the Peoples Republic of China and Mongolian Affairs. She is a Chinese Language officer.
Ambassador Stanfield has also been an Inspector with the Office of the Inspector General and served as an Examiner with the Board of Examiners of the Foreign Service. From 1990-1993, she was Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand of Australia and Charge d’Affaires a.i.for New Zealand Affairs. From 1997-1998 she headed the Taiwan Coordination Affairs Office.
Selected to attend the Department of State’s Senior Seminar, Ambassador Stanfield is a member of the forty-first class of 1998-1999.
After her ambassadorship ended, Ambassador Stanfield became a Diplomat in Residence at Florida A&M University and at Spelman College. She is on the executive committee of the Association of Black American Ambassadors (ABAA). In August 2014 she was nominated to be the interim President of Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA). We look forward to seeing what she creates next for herself.
Thank you for listening and next episode will be honoring Gayleatha Brown, the United States ambassador to Burkina Faso.
Be Blessed and safe