Cynthia Shepard Perry

Cynthia Perry was most recently the United States Executive Director of the African Development Bank. A native of Indiana, Dr. Perry was the US Ambassador to Sierra Leone from 1986-1989 and to Burundi from 1989-1993.

Her career began in 1957 with the Nichols Investment Corporation in Terre Haute, Indiana. where she later joined the IBM Corporation as an educational representative in the Office Products Division. From 1968-1971, she was the Director of the National Teachers Corps at the University of Massachusetts, where she received her Doctorate in International Education in 1972. Joining the faculty of Texas Southern University in 1971, she was an Associate Professor and Associate Director of Teacher Corps/Peace Corps, later becoming a full Professor and Dean of International Affairs from 1978-1982.

Her first assignment to Africa was at the University of Nairobi in 1968 through Operation Crossroads Africa. From 1971-1973, Mrs. Perry and her husband, Dr. James O. Perry, trained a group of Peace Corps volunteers at Texas Souther University to serve in Sierra Leone. In 1974, she led a special educational delegation to Sierra Leone, Ghana, Nigeria and Liberia. While husband was assigned to UNESCO in Nairobi, 1973-1976, she trained Peace Corps paramedical volunteers in Kenya, lectured at the University of Nairobi and served as consultant to the US Information Service in Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia. In 1976, she was appointed Staff Development Officer at the UN Economic Commission for Africa in Addis Ababa.

In 1978, she returned to her professorship at Texas Southern until 1982 when was appointed by the Reagan Administration to Chief of the Education and Human Resources Division in the Africa Bureau of the US Agency for International Development, where she remained until 1986, when she was appointed Ambassador to Sierra Leone and in 1989 by Pres. George H. Bush as Ambassador to Burundi. In 1996, she was appointed by Pres. George W. Bush as Regent of Texas Woman's Universiity, where she served until 2001 when Pres. Bush appointed her to U.S.Executive Director of the African Development Bank, in Abidjan, later in Tunis,Tunisia, where she retired in 2007, She returned to Houston in 2008, where she currently serves as Honorary Consul General of Rwanda, appointed by President Kagame, confirmed by US Dept. of State as an honorary position.

An accomplished artist,she continues her passion for painting in oils, primarily portraits and African landscapes. She is currently updating or sequalizing her memoirs published in 2001, entitled,"All Things Being Equal." and continues to enjoy her flower gardening and her many grandchildren.

Ambassadorial Post(s)

Burundi, (1989 - 1993)
Sierra Leone, (1986 - 1989)

Areas of Expertise