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Gulf Coast Life

We Meet Former Ambassador Barbara Stephenson

The American Academy of Diplomacy

Barbara Stephenson is a career member of the United States Senior Foreign Service who served as the Ambassador to the Republic of Panama during the Obama Administration. During her more than 30 year career she also served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in London, and as Deputy Coordinator for Iraq at the U.S. Department of State.

She is also past President of the American Foreign Service Association, and was Dean of the Leadership and Management School of the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, Virginia. She is currently Vice Provost for Global Affairs and Chief Global Officer at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Stephenson was born and raised in Florida, receiving a Bachelors, Masters, and Ph.D. in English, all from the University of Florida.​ She was in town to give the keynote address at the Southwest Florida Model United Nations Conference, so we thought we’d bring her into the studio to find out what life as a career foreign service officer is like. She sat down with WGGCU’s Julie Glenn.


Mike Kiniry is producer of Gulf Coast Live, and co-creator and host of the WGCU podcast Three Song Stories: Biography Through Music. He first joined the WGCU team in the summer of 2003 as an intern while studying Communication at Florida Gulf Coast University. 
Julie Glenn is the News Director and the host of Gulf Coast Live. She joined the WGCU team in November of 2016 to expand the Gulf Coast Live call-in radio show from once a week to five days a week.  Since then, the show has been recognized in state and regional competitions and has featured artists, political leaders, historians, environmental experts, doctors, local reporters, and national and international scholars. After leading the station's award-winning coverage of Hurricane Irma in September of 2017, Julie was named Interim News Director. In January of 2018, she launched WGCU's first podcast: Grape Minds.