President & CEO
Bernadette B. Paolo, Esq.
President & CEO
Bernadette Paolo was named President and CEO of The Africa Society in 2006, succeeding the deceased President and Founder of the organization, Leonard H. Robinson, Jr. Prior to assuming this position, Paolo served as Vice President of The Africa Society and Vice President of The National Summit on Africa. Paolo was also the Summit's Director of Field Operations, responsible for organizing six regional summits throughout the United States, outreach and mobilization efforts, and serving as an in-house Legal Counsel. Paolo was instrumental in the founding and development of The Africa Society, and in creating and executing its educational programs.
Paolo has more than 25 years of experience in international affairs that includes an extensive career of 12 years in the U.S. Congress. For more than a decade, Paolo was a professional staff member on the Committee on Foreign Affairs, now the House International Relations Committee. During that time, Paolo's positions included Staff Director and Counsel for the House Subcommittee on Africa, Deputy Staff Director for the Subcommittee on International Operations, and Staff Consultant and Deputy Staff Director of the House Subcommittee on Human Rights and International Organizations.
While on Capitol Hill, Paolo represented Congress in 43 countries in the roles of negotiator, investigator, election observer, and arbitrator. In addition to managing Subcommittee staffs, Paolo was responsible for formulating strategies and policy determinations for Members of Congress, as well as writing key pieces of legislation, speeches, and articles pertaining to foreign policy issues.
Paolo also worked as an international consultant with a private law practice in Washington, D.C. for four years. During this period, Paolo advised foreign and domestic clients on economic and policy issues, and provided analysis and research on a wide range of subjects, including human rights, international trade, and electoral procedures. Paolo also served as a criminal defense attorney.
Paolo's other work experience includes teaching English at the secondary and university levels, as well as writing professionally. A native of West Virginia, Paolo received her B.A. from West Liberty College, her M.A. from West Virginia University, and her J.D. from Antioch School of Law. She is a member of the District of Columbia Bar and the West Virginia Bar. She is also on the Board of the Women's Intercultural Network.