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Former Ambassador to South Africa Donald Gips

Ambassador Donald H. Gips

Ambassador Donald H. Gips

Ambassador Donald H. Gips

Ambassador Donald H. Gips departed South Africa on Wednesday, January 02, 2013.

"It has been an honour to represent the United States in South Africa, but it has been equally enjoyable for me and my family to learn and experience all of the wonderful things the “Rainbow Nation” has to offer. This country has taught me that people can overcome all odds if they have the heart, passion, intelligence and commitment to achieve their dreams."
Ambassador Donald Gips

Ambassador Donald Gips was nominated as Ambassador to South Africa by President Barack Obama on June 4 and confirmed by the Senate on July 7, 2009. He presented his credentials to South African President Jacob Zuma on October 1, 2009. He was recently recognized for his efforts to promote improved relations with South Africa when the US State Department chose him as the recipient of the 2010 Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service.

Before being asked to be President Obama's personal representative to South Africa, Donald Gips served as Assistant to the President. He was a leader on the Presidential Transition Team and then served in the White House, where he ran the office of Presidential Personnel, overseeing the selection of several thousand political appointments for the Obama Administration.

Ambassador Gips previously served in the White House during the Clinton administration, working as Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Al Gore.

From 1998-2008, Gips was Group Vice President of Global Corporate Development for Level 3 Communications, where he served as Chief Strategy Officer and led the company's merger and acquisition efforts.

Mr. Gips also served as Chief of the International Bureau at the Federal Communications Commission where he was responsible for WTO negotiations and spectrum policy.  Additionally, Gips is dedicated to promoting a culture of service and helped launch America's national service program, Americorps.

Before entering government, he was a management consultant to Fortune 500 companies at McKinsey & Company. Gips received an MBA from the Yale School of Management and received his undergraduate degree from Harvard University.

Ms. Elizabeth Berry Gips

Ms. Elizabeth Berry Gips

Ms. Elizabeth Berry Gips

Liz Berry Gips has a wide range of experience in the field of education, both in the U.S. and in developing countries.  Currently, she serves as a Senior Education Advisor to the U.S. Agency for International Development, where she is developing programs to improve the quality of basic education in South Africa. From 2003 until May 2009, Mrs. Gips worked for Global Education Fund (GEF), a non-profit organization that improves the lives of orphans and vulnerable children in developing countries through education programs, including the establishment of libraries, scholarship programs and leadership development programs.  Mrs. Gips served as the Program Director of GEF from 2005-2007 and the Executive Director from 2007- 2009.

Prior to her work with GEF, Mrs. Gips was involved with a number of U.S. education initiatives.  From 1991-1997, Mrs. Gips was a senior program officer at New American Schools, a $100 million effort to rethink U.S. public schools through comprehensive, whole school reform. In addition, she worked as an analyst for the venture capital fund, Children's Edu-Investors, focused on investing in innovative technologies for public schools.  She has also served as a Board member on a range of school boards, education foundations and non-profits.

Earlier in her career, she advised multinational corporations as a management consultant at William Kent International, Inc.  Liz and her husband, Don Gips, have three boys, ages 19, 17 and 14.  She received a BA from Williams College and an MBA from the Yale School of Management.



Ambassador in the News

  • Freedom Day, April 27, 2012
    "Happy Freedom Day",  Ambassador Gips wishes all South Africans in his City Press article of April 22, 2012, continuing "As South Africans celebrate 18 years of democracy, the United States celebrates with you. Through the lessons of South Africa, and the work of our own people, America is reminded to strive for the idealistic image of ourselves that our citizens hold in their heart".
  • Africa, US need to work together to create employment
    Writing for Business Report, Mar 27, 2012, Ambassador Gips addresses this issue of mutual concern, "By playing an important role in Africa’s growing economic dynamism, US businesses can create more jobs both on the continent and in America. It’s simple: free trade builds jobs and bolsters economic growth for both partners."
  • We need models of what works
    Ambassador Gips writes for the Daily News, Mar 22, 2012: "Countries like South Africa show that democracy can work, that governments that listen to their people are the most successful and that basic principles of human dignity matter deeply...."
  • The right constitution
    South Africa's constitution is a model for nations across the world.
    It gives the world a glimpse of what a country can become when people take their own destiny in hand and focus on the interests of everyone, not just their own. (Article by Ambassador published in Sunday Times - 26 Feb, 2012)
  • The man who changed America - for good
    Commemorating National African American History Month, Ambassador Donald Gips writes about American baseball legend Jackie Robinson, who overcame adversity to become the first African American to play in the National Baseball League. (Article by Ambassador published in The Sowetan - 14 Feb, 2012).
  • How SA and the US are united states

    America and South Africa seem poles apart politically, economically, socially and otherwise. But America’s ambassador to South Africa, Donald Gips, has instead been struck, during his 20 months here, by the great similarities. Article by Peter Fabricius in the Sunday Tribune.

  • Diversity Issues

    Bloemfontein- greeting students from the University of the Free State who recently returned from a study program in the U.S. that explored race, gender, religious and sexual orientation diversity issues on college campuses

  • Sudan: Reshaping their country

    SOME of the most powerful images from this month's referendum in Sudan came from the sight of individuals of all ages and backgrounds standing patiently in line to vote. (Opinion editorial in the Sowetan, Feb 1, 2011)

Heading the Mission