Ambassador Rama Yade is director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and senior fellow for the Europe Center. She is also a teacher of African affairs at Mohammed VI Polytechnic University in Morocco and, since 2017, at Sciences Po Paris.
Prior to joining the Council, she was a consultant for the World Bank, advising the institution on education, youth, sports, human capital, and disability issues in Africa. She also has strong experience in the private sector as an editor in London, where she overviewed a collection of books about African millennials, and as director for development at a French consulting firm in corporate and social responsibility.
Ambassador Yade has over a decade of experience working in French, European, and international politics. At the age of thirty, she was appointed as the deputy minister for foreign affairs and human rights of the Republic of France: the first ever French minister for human rights and the first woman of African descent to become a member of the French cabinet.
Ambassador Yade prioritized women’s rights during the French presidency of the European Union in 2008. Thanks to strong advocacy, she strengthened the “Paris Commitments” and “Paris Principles” on ending the use of child soldiers in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. From Chad to Haiti, she also mobilized resources to post-crisis areas to manage emergencies in cooperation with international non-governmental organizations. In recognition of her work, she was Nelson Mandela’s personal guest on his 90th birthday in Johannesburg.
She was subsequently appointed to the position of deputy minister of sports. In this role, she successfully promoted France’s bid to host the Euro 2016 football tournament as well as the 2018 Ryder Cup. Confirming her commitments towards the fight against discrimination, she led the campaign for all French sports federations to sign a charter against homophobia in sports and to get more involved in equal pay for female athletes.
In 2010, Ambassador Yade was appointed as the ambassador of France to UNESCO, where she obtained in 2011, after twelve years of efforts, the designation of World Heritage Site for the French natural sites Causses and Cévennes.
Prior to her political and diplomatic career, Ambassador Yade was a parliamentary high civil servant in the French Senate and worked in the Luxembourg Palace as legal senior advisor in the law-making process for the Social Affairs Committee (2000-2007). She developed a deep knowledge of worldwide parliamentary networks as the executive director of the France-West Africa Parliamentary Friendship Group. During her service for the French Senate, she cooperated with the TV network of the Parliament, Public Senat, as deputy director for programming and director of communications. In 2006, Ambassador Yade was appointed by the ruling Union pour un mouvement populaire party as a national delegate for the Francophonie. She was also the founder and executive director of the former think tank Allons Enfants and a member of the Young Global Leaders Forum and the French club Le Siècle. Her career is marked by a constant commitment to migration-related diversity and multicultural citizenship in France and everywhere in the world.
After serving France, Ambassador Yade’s aim is to serve the African continent where she was born. She is a Senegalese and French citizen.
Ambassador Yade received a master’s degree in political science and public affairs from Sciences Po Paris. She is the author of several books, including Blacks of France, Human Rights Explained to Children from 7 to 77 years, Letter to the Youth, Advocacy for a Public Instruction, A Chronicle of Power, and Anthology of Sexism in Politics.