Our own Debbie Peters introduces today's speaker African Union Ambassador to the U.S., Hilda Suka-Mafudze.
Her Excellency Hilda Suka-Mafudze has been the African Union Ambassador to the United States of America since October 2021. She was nominated by H.E. Moussa Faki Mahamat, Chairperson of the African Union Commission, to lead the African Union Mission in the USA, the first bilateral diplomatic Mission opened by the AU in 2007.
Ambassador Hilda Suka-Mafudze is the Permanent Representative of the African Union to the United States of America. Her core mandate is to enhance and maintain existing bilateral ties. These ties strengthen democratic institutions, advance trade and investment, knowledge sharing, promote peace and security, mutual relationships between the U.S and all 55 AU member countries based on culture and shared values.
A career diplomat with experience that spans the African continent, Ambassador Suka-Mafudze assumed her most recent duties on November 2, 2020. Prior to coming to the U.S., she helped lead diplomacy for more than two decades in a variety of top government positions in her home country, Zimbabwe. Wellknown as a “quiet champion of democracy,” Ambassador SukaMafudze held ambassadorial positions representing her country in Khartoum Sudan and South Sudan between 2010 and 2019, and most recently, in the Republic of Malawi.
With a staunch commitment to democracy and the will of the people, Ambassador Suka-Mafudze worked fastidiously with the 55 AU member countries to promote and deepen democracy and democratic elections on the African continent. While Ambassador to Malawi, she chaired the group of regional ambassadors representing the South African Development Community (SADC), a regional Economic Community comprising 16 member states. With an agreed objective to coordinate efforts and settle issues of a contested national election, the Ambassadors engaged deeply with the African Union Election Observers and other international observers. Ambassador Suka-Mafudze herself was serving as an international observer. In Khartoum, Sudan and South Sudan, she led important high-level political processes that continue to move the entire region toward greater peace and security. In 2007, Ambassador Suka-Mafudze was the Executive Director of Community Development where she was responsible for the day-to-day running of an organization and technical professional staff who interfaced with the government, civil society, and private sector. She worked to ensure civil society's needs were articulated and streamlined in public policies and programs.
From 2000 to 2005, Ambassador Suka-Mafudze served as an elected member of Zimbabwe’s Parliament. As one of the few women parliamentarians, she was an influential voice committed to ensuring Zimbabwe’s laws were balanced and served the interests of the poor and other marginalized groups – women, youth, the elderly and children.
Ambassador Suka-Mafudze has a Master of Arts degree in International Relations and World Order from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom, and a Bachelor of Science degree in Sociology and Gender Development from the Women’s University in Africa (WUA). Located in Marondera, Zimbabwe, WUA is a private university that works to address gender disparity and foster equity in tertiary education while developing knowledge and skills in areas of vital importance for women.
Ambassador Suka-Mafudze’s other professional and academic training include: The United Nations Senior Mission Leaders’ Course, Interaction Leadership from the British Council, a professional certificate in Networking Leadership, Diplomacy, and Mediation Skills, Leading in Conflict Environments and Skills for Conflict Transformation. Ambassador SukaMafudze is fluent in English, with working knowledge of French and some Southern African languages, including Shona and Ndebele.