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Makila James Headshot Image

Makila James

Adjunct Lecturer


Ambassador (ret.) Makila James, formerly a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Africa and The Sudans at the Department of State from 2018 until 2020. Prior to taking up those responsibilities, she was on the faculty of the National War College (2016-2018) and served as the Director of the International Student Management Office at the National Defense University (NDU) for eight months. She was the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Swaziland (now the Kingdom of Eswatini) from 2012 until December 2015.

Ms. James has also held a variety of positions in Washington and overseas, including as the Director of the Office of Caribbean Affairs (2010-2012), Deputy Director of the Office of Southern African Affairs (2007-2009), and Principal Officer of the Consulate General in Juba, Southern Sudan (2006-2007). Previously, Ms. James was a member of the State Department’s Policy Planning Staff and was a research fellow at Georgetown University’s Institute for the Study of Diplomacy. She also served as an International Relations Officer in the Office of International Organization Affairs, Desk Officer in the Office of West African Affairs, and as a Watch Officer in the Department’s Operations Center. Her overseas assignments have included postings as Political Officer in Zimbabwe, Political/Economics Officer in Nigeria, and Consular Officer in Jamaica.

Born in New York City, Ms. James received a B.A. from Cornell University, a J.D. from Columbia Law School, and a Masters in National Security Studies from NDU.



  • International Relations