June Carter Perry (1943- )

June Carter-Perry
Courtesy Arkansas Black Hall of Fame, Fair use image
June Carter-Perry
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Ambassador June Carter Perry was born November 13, 1943 in Texarkana, Arkansas.  After completing grade school, Perry was accepted at the Loyola University in Chicago, Illinois where in 1965 she earned her degree in history.  Two years later she earned a master’s degree in European History at the University of Chicago.  Shortly afterwards she married Frederick M. Perry and the couple had two children, Chad and Andre.

From May 1972 to October 1974, Perry served as the Public Affairs Director and broadcaster for WGMS/RKO Radio in Washington, D.C.  In October 1974, she became a Special Assistant in the Community Services Administration, a national anti-poverty agency. In September 1976, Perry became the Public Affairs Director for the Peace Corps, the ACTION agency, and VISTA.  Perry remained the Public Affairs Director of the three programs until 1982.

In 1983, Perry began her career as Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State.  Over her 21 year career, she worked at U.S. embassies in Lusaka, Zambia, Harare, Zimbabwe, and Paris, France.  She was the Deputy Chief of Mission at U.S. embassies in Antananarivo, Madagascar and Bangui, Central African Republic.  Perry served as the State Department’s Director of Office of Social and Humanitarian Affairs where she handled United Nations Commissions that dealt with women and human rights.  She worked as Deputy Director for Policy and Plans in the Political-Military Affairs Bureau and served as Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State.  Perry also worked at Department of State’s Africa Bureau.

On April 30, 2004, President George W. Bush nominated Perry to become Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho.  After U.S. Senate confirmation she arrived in Maseru, the capital, on September 23, 2004.  As ambassador, Perry supported programs that helped improve Lesotho’s health, education, and economic infrastructure. She helped arrange the funding of nearly $400 million to establish the first water delivery system throughout the country.  She also worked with U.S. firms to encourage them to import Lesotho textiles which in turn helped create 50,000 jobs in the nation.  Perry also persuaded the Peace Corps to expand its volunteer program to remote areas of Lesotho.

On May 16, 2007, President George W. Bush nominated Perry to be ambassador to Sierra Leone.  After U.S. Senate confirmation she arrived in Freetown and was sworn in on August 27, 2007.  Perry entered Sierra Leone at the end of a decade-long civil war and thus spent much of her time working on international peacekeeping operations and meeting with regional leaders to ensure equal protection for all political parties as the country transitioned back to democratic rule.  She helped reestablish the Peace Corps in the nation and assisted the Sierra Leone government’s efforts to promote an anti-AIDS campaign.  Perry’s term as ambassador ended in 2009 and she returned to the United States and retired from the U.S. Department of State in January 2010.

Perry now travels around the country lecturing at colleges and universities.  From September 2011 to December 2012, she served as the Cyrus Vance Visiting Professor of International Relations at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts.  In 2013 Perry taught at the University of Missouri and delivered the Distinguished Monroe Paine Lecturer for the Harry S. Truman School of Public Affairs. In March 2014, she was a guest lecturer at the Quinney School of Law at the University of Utah.