Pamela J. Slutz: Ambassador to Burundi

October 28th, 2011  |  by  |  Published in People

Pamela J. Slutz headshot

Pamela J. Slutz

UH degree: MA in Asian studies and political science ’72 Mānoa
First Foreign Service post: Kinshasa, Zaire
Roots: Attended International School Bangkok, ages 7–15
Second languages: French, Indonesian and Mandarin

While she was ambassador to Mongolia, Pamela Jo Howell Slutz mounted an exhibition called The Open Range: Shared American and Mongolian Perspectives. Riding horseback across the vast steppes of Mongolia reminded her of the American West. So did tracking wildebeest across the Serengeti while she was deputy chief of mission in Kenya.

But the appointments that triggered childhood memories are the ones in Asia, where she spent tours in Shanghai, Taiwan and, especially, Jakarta. A “diplobrat,” she lived in Thailand while her father was a Foreign Service officer there and visited her parents in Indonesia as a college student.

“I just fell in love with the people, the cultures, the islands,” she says. “My heart has always been in Asia.”

Slutz specialized in Indonesia at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa as an East-West Center grantee, gaining the language, knowledge and contacts she needed to pursue her goals of living and working abroad.

She has tackled tough issues since joining the Department of State in 1981. She was a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Nuclear and Space Talks with the Soviet Union, channeled assistance to the first-ever shelter for abused women in Ulaanbaatar and encouraged the passage of legislation mandating that 30 percent of the seats in Mongolia’s parliament go to women. In the Republic of Burundi, she monitored the first elections in seven years.

Slutz hopes for one more posting to Asia before retiring to the Texas Hill Country, where she and husband Ronald Deutch, retired Foreign Service officer, are building a home.

–Adapted from East-West Center: Fifty Years, Fifty Stories

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