Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, BA '80

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Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, BA '80

President, Middle East Policy Council; Executive Circle Member, International Women of Elliott

Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, was the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Through a series of senior positions that included advising the Commander of U.S. cyber forces on our foreign policy priorities, expanding our counterterrorism partners and programs as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and coordinating the largest evacuation of American citizens from a war zone since WWll, her professional life has played out almost daily in international media. From 2021-2023, Amb. Abercrombie-Winstanley served as the first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the U.S. Department of State. In July 2023, she was appointed president of the Middle East Policy Council.

She began her formal work in teaching and leadership development as Chairwoman for Middle East Area Studies at the prestigious Foreign Service Institute where U.S. diplomats are trained. Earlier in her career, she served in Baghdad, Jakarta and Cairo before taking on the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for the Middle East and Africa. Her Middle East assignments include election monitoring in the Gaza Strip and an extraordinary assignment where she actively supported gender equality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission there. In addition to the State Department, she has held senior positions at the Defense Department and at the National Security Council of the White House. Prior to that, she was a fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the then Ranking Member, Senator Joseph Biden. Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley is the recipient of the Maltese Order of Merit, Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, including "For acts of courage during an attack on the U.S. Consulate General, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 6, 2004 by al-Qa'ida terrorists."

Over the years, Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley has been a keynote speaker for a variety of organizations including IESAbroad, The Cleveland City Club, TrueBlue Inclusion; Harvard University, Georgetown University, George Washington University, The University of Denver, The University of Malta and Johns Hopkins University Bologna Center. She is an in-demand panelist and moderator at some of the most respected international think tanks, including The German Marshall Fund, CSIS, The World Affairs Council and The Council on Foreign Relations (Washington and New York), on issues ranging from U.S. Middle East policy, how diversity and inclusion improves U.S. foreign policy making, cyber security challenges and counterterrorism. She is a strong proponent of excellence through diversity across organizations and strives to break down barriers to the full participation of women and minorities.

Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley, a Cleveland native, has degrees from The George Washington University and The Johns Hopkins University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been an active Board member on several organizations committed to excellence in educating and leadership development including the Middle East Policy Council, The Forum for Education Abroad, College Now of Greater Cleveland, and the International Career Advancement Association. Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley is the Diplomat in Residence at Oberlin College. She has written for the Foreign Service Journal and The New York Times. She is also the co-author of two papers published in The New York Review of Science Fiction.