Career Foreign Service Officer Bernadette Mary Allen was commissioned into the U.S. diplomatic service in January 1980. Twenty-five years later, on October 26, 2005, President George W. Bush appointed Allen to serve as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Niger. She served until January 15, 2010.
Allen was born on June 5, 1955 in Washington, D.C. and raised in nearby Seat Pleasant, Prince George’s County, Maryland. In 1977, in a study year abroad program, Allen earned a Certificate in French Civilization from the Sorbonne University in Paris, France. In 1978 Allen earned a B.A. in French Civilization and Linguistics, at Central College in Pella, Iowa.
From 1980 to 1982 Allen worked as General Services Officer/Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Bujumbura, Burundi. From 1982 to 1984 Allen was Consul at the U.S. Embassy in Manila, Philippines, and in 1984 she received a six-month temporary duty assignment as Consul at the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, Japan.
During the years 1987-1989 she completed an M.A. in Human Resources Management at George Washington University, while handling her regular duties as Desk Officer, Regional Affairs Office, Africa Bureau (1985-87), and Visa Officer, Visa Office Coordination Division (1985-89).
Allen studied Mandarin Chinese at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center in 1989 and in Taipei, Taiwan in 1990. Allen is fluent in French and Mandarin Chinese.
Starting two years after the 1989 Tiananmen Square incident, from 1991 to 1994 Allen worked as Consular Section Chief at the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China. Her section was credited with the processing hundreds of Chinese nationals hoping to join family members under temporary protected status in the U.S. Additionally, Allen’s team reported on the condition of Chinese nationals repatriated to China upon interception from foreign smuggling ships on the high seas.
Allen has experience in three Bureaus for overseas duty, including service in Asia and Africa, as well as in the Americas. Following service as Chief of