A personal note from Nicole Avant

My Role as Ambassador I am extremely proud to have served as the first African American female United States Ambassador to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. I am proud to have served both President Obama and our great nation.

The role of an Ambassador is often misunderstood. Historically, one in three U.S. Ambassadors are appointed by the President. Contrary to popular belief, the role does not require a foreign policy background and most political appointees have respectable business backgrounds. Every U.S. Embassy is filled with numerous State Department foreign policy experts in each section as well as a Deputy Chief of Mission, provided by the State Department, who is responsible for handling the day to day operations of the Embassy.

The Ambassador is the face of the administration and the U.S. Government in the host country. We advance U.S. policy by presenting our country in a favorable light. Yes, there are cocktail parties and fancy dinners at times, but it is for the sole purpose of deepening relations with the local government, civic and business leaders. These relationships result in support for U.S. interests ranging from security to law enforcement and commerce.

While the islands of The Bahamas are beautiful, my time there rarely involved a trip to the beach. The Bahamas is a law enforcement/critical threat Post because of its proximity to the United States. I feel very fortunate to have had such positive working relationships with the various law enforcement agencies at Post which included DEA, CBP, ICE, U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and the FBI. It was truly a highlight of my appointment.

Below is a copy of an OIG Report written about my tenure in The Bahamas. Political appointed Ambassadors are sometimes the target for criticism and I was no exception. A few people made noise about the statement that drew attention to my time away from Post. Ironically, most of my travel supported my numerous outreach initiatives on behalf of The Bahamas. The rest of my travel was weekend and holiday return trips to Los Angeles to see my husband and my step-children who were unable to relocate to Nassau with me. All of my travel was ALWAYS approved by the State Department and ALWAYS at my own personal expense. My record speaks for itself and I am proud of it.

U.S. Ambassador Nicole Avant