Ambassador Dennise Mathieu is President and CEO of The Bridges Institute. After a distinguished career of 37 years in the Foreign Service of the U.S. Department of State, she now uses her expertise of African affairs to strengthen African democracy through global partnerships.
Immediately prior to retirement, Ambassador Mathieu served as Deputy Assistant Secretary of Australia, New Zealand and Pacific Island Affairs from 2013 - 2015, providing policy guidance on security and defense matters, trade, and disaster relief. Previously she served as Ambassador to Namibia, where she directed the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), and helped conclude a $304 million agreement with the Millennium Challenge Corporation to promote education, agriculture, and tourism. As Ambassador to Niger, she helped craft an $8 million USAID-funded food security program, working with a consortium of four non-governmental organizations.
Other assignments overseas included Deputy Chief of Mission in Ghana; France; Switzerland (U.S. Mission to United Nations); Saudi Arabia; Trinidad; and the Dominican Republic. She also held key domestic positions with the U.S. Transportation Command, building interagency consensus for worldwide military missions; Director of United Nations Technical Agencies; and Deputy Director of African Affairs and Pacific Island Affairs.
Ambassador Mathieu was the recipient of the Presidential Meritorious Service Award, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Distinguished Civilian Service Award, the Order of Niger, and multiple State Department Performance, Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards.
A native of New Jersey, Ambassador Mathieu worked as an Assistant Corporation Counsel for the city of Newark. She earned her Juris Doctorate degree from Rutgers University School of Law, and a Bachelor of Arts from Antioch College. She is a member of the New Jersey and DC Bar Associations.