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Alum Pittman Named Ambassador to Mozambique

by Web on February 16, 2016

Dean Pittman, B.A. 1978, a career member of the Foreign Service, is the new U.S. ambassador to Mozambique. He was confirmed on Nov. 19, 2015, and sworn in on Dec. 23, 2015.

It is the first such posting for Pittman, who majored in political science at Millsaps and earned an M.A. in international relations from Johns Hopkins in 1985.

In a 2014 Millsaps Magazine story, Pittman credited Dr. Howard Bavender, who taught international politics at Millsaps from 1966 until 1990, with encouraging him to “look past Mississippi to the world beyond.”

Pittman said Bavender “took literature, history, and art and pulled it all together as he mentored me along. It was an amazing, unforgettable experience that encouraged me to pursue a graduate degree in international studies and join the foreign service.”

While a Millsaps student, Pittman interned for Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts). After graduation, Pittman went into the Peace Corps and spent his time teaching English in Gabon. Upon leaving the Peace Corps, he worked for Rep. Wayne Dowdy (D-Mississippi), a fellow Millsaps graduate. In 1988, Dowdy tried to make the jump to the Senate with Pittman running his campaign, but they lost to Republican Trent Lott.

Pittman joined the Foreign Service in 1989, with early postings in Mozambique, Angola and Guyana. He spent a year as a diplomat in residence with the National Democratic Institute, focusing on democracy-building initiatives in Bangladesh and Pakistan. In 1997, Pittman was named legislative management officer for East Asia and Pacific affairs. He was sent to Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, in 1999 as a political counselor and returned to Washington the following year as director of Balkan affairs on the staff of the National Security Council. In 2002, Pittman was made special assistant to Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage.

As did many Foreign Service officers, Pittman did a tour in Iraq, serving as deputy director in the Governance Office of the Coalition Provisional Authority for an eight-month period between 2003 and 2004. His next assignment took him to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where he served as consul general for three years.

Pittman came home in 2007 for what turned out to be a long stay in Washington. He was first a member in the State Department’s Office of Policy Planning, working on how the United States’ climate change agenda was presented to the world.  In 2009, he was senior diplomacy adviser to the department’s quadrennial diplomacy and development review, and the following year he was named principal deputy assistant secretary of state for international organization affairs.

From 2013 to 2014, Pittman served as acting Assistant Secretary of State. Since 2014, he has been a senior advisor to the Bureau of International Organization Affairs.

Pittman speaks French and Portuguese.