Nancy McEldowney

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Nancy McEldowney
Nancy McEldowney photo.jpg
Director of the Foreign Service Institute
Assumed office
February 19, 2013
President Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Preceded by Ruth Whiteside
United States Ambassador to Bulgaria
In office
August 26, 2008 – July 30, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by John Beyrle
Succeeded by James Warlick
Personal details
Born (1958-10-06) October 6, 1958 (age 58)
Clearwater, Florida, U.S.
Alma mater New College
Columbia University
National Defense University

Nancy McEldowney (born October 6, 1958) is an American diplomat and a member of the U.S. Foreign Service.  She currently serves as the Director of the Foreign Service Institute and the National Foreign Affairs Training Center.  In this capacity, she is responsible for professional training for the U.S. Department of State and other foreign affairs agencies. 


As Director of the Foreign Service Institute (FSI), McEldowney serves as the Chief Learning Officer for the US Department of State.  FSI provides professional training for American diplomats on subjects ranging from foreign languages to leadership skills, including core diplomatic tradecraft such as advocacy and negotiation.  FSI also trains employees from over 50 other foreign affairs agencies. 

Prior to her arrival at FSI, McEldowney served as the Interim President and Senior Vice President of the National Defense University from 2011-2013.    She was also the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs from 2009-2011. 

Overseas, McEldowney served as the US Ambassador to Bulgaria (2008-2009), as well as the US Deputy Chief of Mission in Turkey (2005-2008) and in Azerbaijan (2001-2004).  

McEldowney received of the Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award from the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 2013.  She also received the Order of Stara Planina (Medal of Honor) from the President of Bulgaria in 2009. She has been the recipient of the State Department’s Senior Performance Award on nine occasions and the Superior Honor Award on five occasions. She was granted the Sinclair Linguistic Award in 2001. 


McEldowney was born and raised in Clearwater Beach, Florida.  After graduating from Clearwater High School, McEldowney went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree from New College, as well as Masters degrees from both Columbia University and the National Defense University.  McEldowney has studied a number of languages, including French, Spanish, Russian, and Latin, and received professional training in Arabic, Azerbaijani, German, and Turkish.  


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Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
John Beyrle
United States Ambassador to Bulgaria
Succeeded by
James Warlick
Preceded by
Ruth Whiteside
Director of the Foreign Service Institute