Independent Historian

Christopher Teal is the GW Visiting State Department Public Diplomacy Fellow for the 2022-2024 academic years.  With the State Department since 1999, Chris is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service.

Previously he was the director of the State Department’s Career Development and Assignments Mid-Level Division, heading up a 35-member team in charge of global diplomatic assignments for Mid-Level Foreign Service Officers, some 9,000 officials in total.

He also served a faculty assignment at the Inter-American Defense College at Fort McNair in Washington, D.C.  There he taught graduate classes to senior-level Latin American officials on diplomacy, civil/military relations, human rights, peace keeping, and media/security policy.

Prior to that, Chris was awarded the Una Chapman Cox Fellowship, where he directed, wrote, and produced a documentary on the first African American diplomat, Ebenezer D. Bassett.  The film, A Diplomat of Consequence, tells the story of this groundbreaking diplomat 150 years after his appointment.

Overseas assignments include Consul General at the U.S. Consulate in Nogales, Mexico, and public affairs positions in Sri Lanka; Mexico; Peru; and the Dominican Republic.  At the State Department, he also held public affairs positions in the European Bureau and at the Foreign Press Center.

Before joining the Foreign Service, Chris worked with award-winning journalist Juan Williams on their biography Thurgood Marshall: American Revolutionary about the former U.S. Supreme Court Justice. Published In 1998, The New York Times listed it among its most notable nonfiction works of the year.  Chris also wrote a biography about Ebenezer Bassett, entitled Hero of Hispaniola, published in 2008.

Chris has a B.A. from the University of Arkansas and an M.A. from George Washington University’s Columbian College, where he graduated in 1997.

Ebenezer D. Bassett (1833-1908)

Ebenezer D. Bassett was appointed U.S. Minister Resident to Haiti in 1869, making him the first African American diplomat.  For eight years, the educator, abolitionist, and Black rights activist oversaw bilateral relations through bloody civil warfare and coups d’état on the island of Hispaniola.  Bassett … Read MoreEbenezer D. Bassett (1833-1908)