The World Food Prize Foundation

2019 Borlaug Dialogue Speakers

Hon. Nancy Powell

Formerly Department of State

Ambassador Nancy J. Powell retired from the U.S. Foreign Service on May 31, 2014 after a thirty-seven year career.  She held the highest rank in the United States Foreign Service, with the title of Career Ambassador.   Her overseas tours include Canada, Nepal, Pakistan, Togo, India, Bangladesh, Uganda, and Ghana.  Among the senior positions she held were Ambassador to Uganda, Ghana, Pakistan, Nepal, and India as well as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, National Intelligence Officer for South Asia at the National Intelligence Council, and the State Department’s Senior Coordinator for Avian Influenza.   Ambassador Powell returned to the State Department for three months in September 2014 to coordinate the agency's Ebola effort.

Ambassador Powell is the recipient of the Department of State's Distinguished Service Award for her career contributions and the Homeland Security Service to America Medal for 2006 for Avian Influenza preparations as well as the U.S. State Department Arnold L. Raphel Award for 2003 for mentoring. 

Ambassador Powell graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in 1970.  She currently resides in Lewes, Delaware, where she is active in the Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, the League of Women Voters, and the Coastal Camera Club. 

Nancy Powell was born in Cedar Falls and lived there until her family moved to LeMars in 1959.  She graduated from LeMars Community High School in 1966 and from the University of Northern Iowa in 1970, where she majored in history and education.  She taught high school social studies in Dayton, Iowa from 1970-76 before joining the Foreign Service. 

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