Marguerita Dianne Ragsdale was born in April 1948 in Richmond, Virginia to Lillie and Vernon Ragsdale and raised alongside her five sisters on a farm in McKenney, Dinwiddie County, Virginia. After starting her undergraduate work at Virginia State University in Petersburg, she transferred to American University in Washington, D.C., where she earned a B.A. in journalism. Later, she earned an M.A. and a Ph.D. in foreign affairs from the University of Virginia, and a J.D. from Columbia University.
A Middle East specialist, Ragsdale began her Foreign Service career in 1984 as Junior Consular and General Services Officer at the American Embassy in Kuwait. She then served in the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu, Somalia as a Political Officer (1986-1988) before returning to Washington to act as Watch Officer in the Department of State Operations Center and later Desk Officer for the United Arab Emirates and Oman (1989-1991).
In 1992, Ragsdale worked in the Middle East as Political/Economic Officer and, later, as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Doha, Qatar. In 1995, she returned stateside, where she worked as a management analyst for the Under Secretary of State for Management and later participated in the Department’s Senior Seminar executive development program. Next, in her capacity as Deputy Director of the Office of Arabian Peninsula Affairs, Ragsdale supervised desk officers for the Arabian Peninsula states of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Yemen.
In 1999, Ragsdale headed the Political Section at the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria, South Africa and within three years (2002), became Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, Sudan. In November 2003, Ragsdale was nominated to be Ambassador to the Republic of Djibouti by then President George W. Bush and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in December of that same year. In February 2004, Ragsdale presented her credentials to Djibouti government officials and assumed her post.
Ragsdale’s posting to Djibouti, a