November 13 Program

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TCFR Director Bob Donaldson with Speaker Liz Colton (
photo by Michele McManus)


Dr. Elizabeth Overton Colton
Program Director, ACFR
“Foreign Policy Challenges for the New Administration”

Elizabeth Colton's career includes and bridges diplomacy, journalism, scholarship, U.S. and international politics and education, working in more than 100 countries and speaking/teaching worldwide on six continents. Elizabeth (Liz) Colton is currently completing a book on diplomacy, global politics and the news media with focus on world “hot-spots” in the Middle East, Africa & Asia. Her book on Indian Ocean politics—focusing on Maldives, coups & climate change, is scheduled for publication in the coming year. Liz Colton has spent decades as an observer, practitioner and analyst of  foreign policy, global diplomacy, politics, and the media with unique experience covering and working as journalist, diplomat, and educator in these fields in the U.S. and around the world.  Elizabeth Colton is the published author of two earlier books, one on politics and the media in the 1988 U.S. Presidential campaign and another co-authored on connecting to creativity, as well as numerous articles and broadcast- tv & radio- stories on major world news, global affairs and U.S. foreign policy.
Elizabeth Colton’s diplomatic work includes service as a U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer in Kenya, as a United Nations international development planner in New York, and, most recently, as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer with assignments as the spokesperson/press attache in frontline posts in Egypt, Pakistan, Iraq, Sudan, and Algeria, as well as diplomatic tours in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. She also served as chief of staff in the State Department's Bureau of Oceans, Environment & Science during which tour she worked as a chief organizer for a global conference on Antarctica and the Arctic. During her time in the Foreign Service, Colton received four State Department Superior Honor Awards, three Meritorious Awards, and, just before leaving the Foreign Service late last year, she was nominated by the U.S Embassy in Cairo for State's prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award for Public Diplomacy.
Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Elizabeth Colton was a journalist covering U.S. foreign policy and major world news.  An Emmy Award winning journalist for ABC News and also executive editor of the Suburban Newspapers of America's "newspaper of excellence," Liz Colton worked in the U.S. and abroad (all over the Middle East, Europe, Asia, Africa) in all the news media, including also NBC News, Newsweek, National Public Radio, Mutual Broadcasting, Asiaweek, Far Eastern Economic Review, as executive editor of ten Virginia weekly newspapers, and as a columnist for the Asheville Citizen-Times. Colton was also Professor of Mass Communications, Politics, and Journalism at Shenandoah University where she established the university’s International Journalism Center and also Symposia on Diplomacy and the Media. During her time as a university professor, Elizabeth Colton was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to the University of Mauritius, a MacArthur Globalization Fellow at the University of Chicago, and a Knight International Journalism Fellow in Sri Lanka and Maldives. She also worked as a media adviser on various U.S. political campaigns. Elizabeth Colton received her B.A. from Randolph-Macon Woman's College, two M.A.s from Vanderbilt University, and a Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from the University of London School of Economics & Political Science. Her doctoral research and thesis were on Maldives and the Indian Ocean. She also studied a year at the University of Glasgow in Scotland. Liz Colton grew up in Asheville- the mountains of North Carolina, still her home.