January 19, 2022

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U.S. Department of State to Honor Foreign Service Officer (ret.) William S. Rowland as Hero of U.S. Diplomacy

11 min read

Office of the Spokesperson

On Tuesday, September 29, at 12:00 p.m., the Department of State will honor William S. Rowland as a Hero of U.S. Diplomacy live on YouTube.

William Rowland will be recognized for displaying unwavering courage during the evacuation of U.S. Embassy Brazzaville in June 1997. Two years into Mr. Rowland’s first posting as a Political and Economic Officer in the Republic of the Congo, violence and civil war erupted. He played an integral role in the evacuation of U.S. citizens and the rescue of U.S. government personnel. Mr. Rowland volunteered to retrieve captured colleagues from behind militia lines and displayed ingenuity in securing safe passage out of the war zone for private American citizens.

FSO (ret.) William S. Rowland went on to serve the United States as a Foreign Service Officer for over 25 years, prior to his retirement in summer 2020.

The virtual event will feature the honoree in conversation with Deputy Assistant Secretary for Central Africa and Public Affairs in the Bureau of African Affairs Elizabeth Fitzsimmons, with introductory remarks by Ambassador Julieta Valls Noyes, Deputy Director of the Foreign Service Institute.

The “Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy” initiative highlights the stories of modern-day “Heroes Among Us,” alongside heroic figures from our Department’s rich history.  These individuals displayed sound policy judgment, as well as intellectual, moral and/or physical courage while advancing the Department of State’s mission and elevating U.S. diplomacy.  For questions about the initiative, direct your inquiries to HeroesofDiplomacy@state.gov or visit www.state.gov/HeroesofUSDiplomacy.

This event will take place live on YouTube. For more information please contact the State Department Office of Press Relations at 202-647-2492.

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