Edward Joseph Perkins

Ambassador Edward Joseph Perkins

The Forty-Third Laurel Wreath Wearer [1991]

Edward Joseph Perkins [Alexandria-Fairfax (VA) Alumni Chapter] was born in Sterling [LA], a small community outside Monroe [LA] on June 8, 1928. As a small boy, he attended the rural public schools in the area until he was 14 when he moved to Pine Bluff [AR] and later to Portland [OR] where he completed his high school requirements. Perkins enrolled at the University of Oregon, but after a couple of years, he enlisted in the United States Army. It was while serving in the military that Perkins decided upon a career in Foreign Service. He received an honorable discharge from the Army in 1962 but remained in Japan.

Ever cognizant of the importance of education, Perkins continued his academic pursuits while serving his country. He earned a BA degree from the University of Maryland [1967], a MPA from the University of Southern California [1972] and a DPA from the University of Southern California [1978].

Perkins began his career in 1962 as a civilian employee assigned to Okinawa. In 1967, he moved to Bangkok, Thailand as an Assistant General Services Officer. Between 1968 and 1978, he held various management positions within the Foreign Services Agency of the US Department of State in Washington [DC], Thailand and Southeast Asia.

In 1978, he moved to the American embassy at Monrovia where he was a senior manager for five years. In 1983, he returned to the United States as Director of the French Language Training in the Office of West African Affairs within the US Department of State. In 1985, President Reagan appointed him Ambassador to the Republic of Liberia and in 1986 Ambassador to the Republic of South Africa. In 1989, he returned to Washington [DC] to become Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Personnel. In 1992, President Bush appointed him the US Ambassador to the United Nations, where he also served on the United Nations Security Council. Perkins Tetired from government service in 1966 with the rank of Career Minister to become the William J. Crowe Professor in Geopolitics and Executive Director of the International Programs Center at the University of Oklahoma.

Perkins, a 1978 initiate at the Alexandria-Fairfax (VA) Alumni Chapter, has maintained a continuous affiliation with that chapter despite his various postings outside the country. He has been a keynote speaker at Province Councils, C. Rodger Wilson Leadership Conferences, and local chapter events.

His accomplishments as a career foreign service officer earned him the 43rd Laurel Wreath.