The Honorable Eric P. Whitaker is an American diplomat with 32 years of experience in the U.S. Foreign Service. He served in four regions (Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Middle East), including tenure as the Acting Deputy Secretary of State for African Affairs and as the United States Ambassador to Niger from 2018-2021. Eric speaks six languages and has earned 13 superior and meritorious honor awards from the Department of State, as well as the Department of Defense’s Meritorious Civilian Honor Award.
Mr. Whitaker is a University of Illinois-Champaign alum with a BS in biology and an MS in community health. After graduating he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines working in community health. He later received a Master in Public Administration degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and a Master of Public Policy degree from the Wilson School at Princeton University.
Mr. Whitaker credits his experience at Illinois and his work as a volunteer in the Peace Corps for his successful career that eventually led to his post as Ambassador.
“My exposure to the diverse student population, including international students, as well as spirit of service to nation and others, led me to both join the Peace Corps as a volunteer and the Foreign Service at the Department of State.”
Join us as we welcome Eric Whitaker back to campus to share his experience in the State Department and the important role of the Peace Corps in pursuit of world peace and friendship for more than 60 years.