Former United States ambassador to Sierra Leone has died

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 14 January 2019:

The death is announced of Ambassador Arthur W. Lewis, former United States of America ambassador to Sierra Leone from 1983 to 1985, when he retired from the US Foreign Service.

Arthur Lewis was a career foreign service officer who served in diplomatic missions in Eastern Europe and Africa before retiring in 1987.

He also played a significant role in expanding opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities in the American diplomatic corps.


Before entering the Foreign Service, Lewis spent 23 years in the U.S. Navy. A student at Dartmouth College, Lewis enlisted in the Navy in 1943 and served until 1966. He returned to Dartmouth to work with the N.R.O.T.C. And teach Naval science while still on active duty. He completed a Bachelor’s and Master’s in Government while at Dartmouth.

In 1966 he joined the United States Information Agency (USIA) a Cold War-era diplomatic agency intended to promote American culture abroad. He chose to serve with the agency because he believed he would have more direct engagement with foreign nationals than in the State Department.

Before he was appointed his first ambassadorial post to Sierra Leone, he served in Romania, Zambia, Ethiopia, and Lagos until he was appointed the director of the agency. He was appointed Ambassador to Sierra Leone by President Ronald Reagan, and served there until he retired in 1986.

While in Sierra Leone, his wife Frances (Fay) Lewis, an academic historian, gave her service free to Fourah Bay College, lecturing master’s degree students.

When the college was closed, due to a student unrest, she continued to work with her students at her residence, even going to the extent of providing lunch for them each day.

Ambassador Lewis was the first cousin of Colin Powell, the first African American Secretary of State, who paid Lewis a visit while he was in Sierra Leone.

Ambassador Lewis and his wife Fay made many Sierra Leonean friends while they were here in Sierra Leone. May his soul rest in perfect peace.


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