The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Mary Yates Oral History Interview. May 15, 2014

Mary Yates Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen.

May 15, 2014

Location:  Valley Library, Oregon State University.

Mary (Carlin) Yates (b. 1946), a Portland native, attended Oregon State University from 1964-1968, majoring in English. In 1980, following a brief teaching career and graduate work in Asian Studies, Yates entered the diplomatic corps, beginning with an assignment in South Korea as Public Affairs Officer. Over the course of a career in public service that ultimately spanned more than thirty years, Yates served as U.S. ambassador to Ghana and Burundi, as well as National Security Advisor on African issues to the Obama White House. She likewise occupied posts in the Philippines, France, Zaire and Sudan. Her interview focuses on her memories of Oregon State, her diplomatic training, the numerous positions that she occupied within the Foreign Service, and the details of daily life while living abroad.