James A. Joseph

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James A. Joseph (born 1935) is a former American diplomat.

Joseph is Professor of the Practice of Public Policy Studies at Duke University and founder of the United States – Southern Africa Center for Leadership and Public Values at Duke and the University of Cape Town. He has served four U.S. Presidents. In 1995, he was nominated by President Bill Clinton and confirmed by the United States Senate as the U.S. Ambassador to South Africa. He was the only U. S. Ambassador to present his credentials to President Nelson Mandela. In 1999, President Thabo Mbeki awarded him the Order of Good Hope, the highest honor the Republic of South Africa bestows on a citizen of another country. As a legacy and contribution to South Africa and the USA, Joseph helped found the Emerging Leaders Program, a pioneering effort in partnership with both the University of Cape Town and Duke University aimed at identifying and mentoring the next generation of significant leaders working to make an impact on the world.[1]

From 1977–1981, Joseph served as the Under Secretary of the Department of Interior under President Jimmy Carter. President Reagan appointed him a member of the Advisory Committee to the Agency for International Development and the first President Bush appointed him an incorporating director of the Points of Light Foundation and a member of the Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges. President Clinton appointed him the first Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Corporation for National Service.

Joseph is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Disaster Recovery Foundation created by Governor Blanco, and was recently honored by his home state as a Louisiana Legend. The award goes to Louisiana natives who have distinguished themselves in music, art, theater, literature and politics. He has also had a distinguished career in business, education and philanthropy. From 1982-1995, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the Council on Foundations, an international organization of more than 2000 foundations and corporate giving programs. He served as a Vice President of Cummins Engine Company and President of the Cummins Engine Foundation from 1971-1976. An ordained minister, he has taught at Yale Divinity School and the Claremont Colleges where he was also University Chaplain. In 1985, he was a Distinguished Visitor at Nuffield College at Oxford University and serves presently as an Honorary Professor and a member of the Board of Advisors at the Graduate School of Business at the University of Cape Town.

After graduating from Southern University and Yale, Joseph began his career at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, where he helped organize the local civil rights movement in 1963. A frequent speaker to academic, civic and religious audiences, he is the author of two books, The Charitable Impulse and Remaking America. A third book on The Changing Role of Ethics in Public Life is near completion. He is the recipient of nineteen honorary degrees and his undergraduate alma mater, Southern University, has named an endowed chair in his honor. The Board of Directors of the Council on Foundations appointed him President Emeritus and the Association of Black Foundation Executives established the James A. Joseph Lecture on Philanthropy.

Joseph has served on the Board of Directors of the Brookings Institution, the National Endowment for Democracy, Africare, and the Children’s Defense Fund. He serves presently as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the NHP Foundation and MDC. He is a director of the Management and Training Corporation and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University, the School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University and the Leadership Center at Morehouse College. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the National Academy for Public Administration. He is married to the former Mary Braxton, an Emmy Award winning television journalist, and has two children from a previous marriage to Doris T. Joseph.

Joseph is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity.[2]

Preceded by
Princeton Lyman
United States Ambassador to South Africa
1995-1999
Succeeded by
Delano Lewis

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