When it comes to diplomacy, heroes don’t always wear capes or have superpowers; they are instead regular people thrust into extraordinary circumstances.
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Slater, a foreign service information technology specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, during the bombing of August 7, 1998, is one such diplomat.
Slater is the first honoree of the State Department’s new program Heroes of U.S. Diplomacy. The program highlights those who display “intellectual, moral, physical courage … in service to America’s mission,” as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said while introducing Slater at a ceremony at the State Department in Washington. She was joined at the event by her family. Her husband, Charlie, is also a foreign service officer.
In honor of her courage and fierce commitment to service after the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in East Africa, I’m proud to recognize Information Management Specialist Lizzie Slater as the first selectee of our #HeroesofUSDiplomacy initiative. Congratulations, Lizzie. pic.twitter.com/iVh0fDoffK
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) September 13, 2019
The 1998 bombing occurred on the second day of Slater’s new job as information technology specialist. Though she was badly injured when the bombs went off, she stayed and worked in Tanzania to get U.S. communications back online after the blast.
Beyond her time in Tanzania, Slater was honored for her resilience, tenacity, hard work and ability to foster a genuine sense of camaraderie among her team members. She has served in over 11 countries in two decades.
“People are our most important assets in the State Department,” Slater said. “Embrace it, folks. It’s an amazing career.”