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
Gayleatha Beatrice Brown (1947-2013)
On July 2, 2009 President Barack Obama appointed Gayleatha Brown to be the United States ambassador to Burkina Faso. Brown was born in Matawan, West Virginia on June 20, 1947. Her family moved to New Jersey when she was a child and she graduated from Edison High School, in Edison, New Jersey in 1964. She received BA and MA degrees with honor from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1968 and 1970 respectively. Brown has also conducted post-graduate work in international relations at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.
Before joining the United States Department of State, Brown was a Special Assistant in the Agency for International Development (USAID). She was later Assistant Administrator for Africa and a legislative assistant to the House of Representatives. She also held the position of Representative and Finance and Development Officer at the U.S. Embassies in Paris, France and Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire respectively.
Before being named ambassador Ms.Brown had extensive background within the State Department including positions as the Counselor for Political Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa, U.S. Consul General and as the U.S. Deputy Permanent Observer (concurrently) to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, France. She also held the office of Chief of Economic and Commercial Sections at the U.S. Embassies in Harare, Zimbabwe, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Brown also has represented the Department of State at the Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Export Credit Arrangement negotiations as Desk Officer for the U.S. Export-Import Bank (EXIM) in the Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs (EB).
Brown’s honors and recognitions include: Lady of the Golden Horseshoe (West Virginia state academic honor) and charter member of the New Jersey Edison Township High School Alumni Hall of Fame. She also received two Department of State Superior Honor Awards, a State Department Meritorious Honor Award and a Presidential Meritorious Service Award. She is an honorary member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha (AKA) Sorority and Sandown Rotary Club in Johannesburg, South Africa. She was also among the first women members of the Rotary Club in Tanzania.
Ambassador Brown was fluent in English, French and Swahili. She was a member of the Shiloh Baptist Church in Washington, D.C. and was associated with the Community Church of Iselin, New Jersey.
Ambassador Brown passed Friday, April 19,2013, at the JFK Medical Center, Edison, N.J. at the age of 65. Her mother Nellie and brother Curtis Brown survive her.
I hope you enjoyed this segment and Thank you for listening, Till next time when we honor
Barbara M. Watson, United States Ambassador to Malaysia