Independent Historian

Dr. Carlton McLellan (Ph.D.) is a senior international education, exchanges, and diplomacy professional, researcher, and entrepreneur with more than 25 years of global organizational and program leadership. His expertise includes creating and leading international people-to-people education, exchange, and diplomacy programs; growing the international presence of organizations; creating and cultivating strategic global partnerships; managing government contracts and sponsored programs; and fundraising and new business development through managing and writing proposals (e.g. grant writing). He has and continues to serve as a senior advisor, researcher, and/or consultant to multiple international organization including nonprofits, higher education institutions, and multilateral agencies.

Dr. McLellan currently holds multiple concurrent positions including as a Senior Fellow at the Association of Black American Ambassadors (ABAA), Founding Director and Senior Associate at Global Ties South Africa, and Owner & CEO at Vibe Coffeehouse & Café. At ABAA, he oversees The American Ambassadors Project, which is the first comprehensive attempt to compile, organize, and report on the lives and contributions of Black Americans who have held the title and rank of U.S. Ambassador. In this research capacity, he has published numerous pieces in journals and online focused on this often-overlooked area of Black American leadership – U.S. diplomacy and international affairs.

Dr. McLellan’s past senior professional roles have included as Senior Advisor to the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Office for the United States & Canada – a United Nations (UN) specialized agency; Managing Director at Global Ties U.S.; and Deputy Director in the Center for International Exchanges at the Academy for Educational Development (AED). He has also worked or consulted at nonprofit organizations such as the Institute of International Education (IIE), FHI360, Meridian International Center, Mississippi Consortium for International Development (MCID), CulturalVistas, WorldChicago, the International Visitors Council of Columbus (Ohio), and the Silicon Valley Forum; private consulting firms such as Exegesis Consulting and Pillar Systems; and at multilateral agencies such as the ILO (a UN specialized agency) and The World Bank. He has also served as a Senior Fellow at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST), a contributing writer for, and a Research Fellow for multiple higher education institutions and agencies, focused on internationalization and building global partnerships.

Dr. McLellan’s professional and personal philosophies are that everything, including attempts to address social, political, and economic challenges of our day, is made better through international exchange – of people, cultures, and ideas. This is the “why” in everything he does. As such, he has been instrumental in building strategic global partnerships for and with organizations around the world, producing globally focused research, and helping individuals and organizations around the world connect through their common interests.

Dr. McLellan received his doctoral degree in international policy studies from the Faculty of Education at the University of Pretoria, South Africa; his Master’s degree in international and development education from the University of Pittsburgh; and his Bachelor’s degree in international studies from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio.

Edward Joseph Perkins, Jr. (1928-2020)

Edward Perkins served as U.S. Ambassador on four occasions; more than all but two other African Americans. He was born Edward Joseph Perkins, Jr. on June 8, 1928 in Sterlington, Louisiana to Edward Perkins, Sr. and Tiny Estella Noble. After moving to Portland, Oregon and graduating … Read MoreEdward Joseph Perkins, Jr. (1928-2020)

Bonnie Denise Jenkins (ca.1960– )

Bonnie Jenkins is a retired U.S. Naval Reserve officer, diplomat, and expert in international security, arms control, treaty laws, and nonproliferation and disarmament of weapons of mass destruction. Born in Queens, New York, and growing up in the Bronx, New York, Jenkins was the child … Read MoreBonnie Denise Jenkins (ca.1960– )

Suzan Denise Johnson Cook (1957– )

Suzan Johnson Cook is a religious leader, pastor, motivational speaker, and diplomat who was born on January 28, 1957, in Harlem, New York. Her father, Wilbert Johnson, was a trolley driver and later founder of a successful security company, and her mother Dorothy Johnson, was … Read MoreSuzan Denise Johnson Cook (1957– )

Anthony Michael Battle (1950- )

Michael Battle is an educator, religious leader, and diplomat. Born on July 28, 1950, in St. Louis, Missouri, he was one of twelve children from Jessie Battle Sr., a Pentecostal pastor, and Mary Battle.  Michael received his bachelor’s degree from Trinity College (1973), his Master … Read MoreAnthony Michael Battle (1950- )

America’s Black Ambassadors: A Historical Snapshot

In the article below, Carlton McLellan, PhD, a senior fellow at the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST), briefly describes the history of the more than one hundred and forty black women and men who have led diplomatic delegations as U.S. Ambassadors in ninety-five … Read MoreAmerica’s Black Ambassadors: A Historical Snapshot