Ambassador (Ret.) Bismarck Myrick, is Ambassador-in-Residence and Lecturer of Political Science and History at Old Dominion University. He completed a career in the Foreign Service of the U.S. The President twice nominated him to serve as Ambassador (Lesotho 1995; Liberia 1999). He also headed the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Durban, South Africa -- arriving there in 1990, the year Nelson Mandela was released from 27 years of imprisonment. He later headed the Diplomatic Mission in Cape Town, South Africa. His diplomatic assignments included periods when he served as Dean of the Diplomatic Corps. In addition, he served as Desk Officer for Somalia; chaired an interagency working group on strategic nuclear policy; and, as Deputy Director, managed U.S. security assistance policies for South America and the Caribbean. He earned the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award.
He has traveled to over 40 African countries and represented the U.S. at the swearing in of South Africa’s first democratic parliament. The Kingdom of Lesotho conferred on him the Kingdom’s highest honor to a non-citizen. Liberia’s major newspapers and civil society organizations named him “Diplomat of the Year” or “Man of the Year” for three consecutive years. The City Council appointed him Goodwill Ambassador for Goree Island, Senegal. He was Political Officer in Liberia during the government of Samuel Doe. He completed regular study projects in southern and western Africa: 2006-2014; South Africa, 2015; and, Senegal and South Africa in 2016, 2017, and 2018.
Ambassador Myrick also completed a career in the U.S. Army. Starting as a private, he rose through the ranks to become a field grade officer. He served in Vietnam, Korea, Japan, Germany and Ethiopia. He earned the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars for heroism in combat, two Bronze Stars for meritorious service in a combat zone, the Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Parachutist Badge and Combat Infantryman Badge. An Army Foreign Area Officer (Africa Specialist), he was Director of African Studies at the School of International Studies, Fort Bragg, NC. He is in the National Infantry Hall of Fame at Fort Benning, GA. He was the ODU 2011 Veterans Day Honoree and Featured Speaker.
He graduated from the University of Tampa with honors and earned an M.A. degree from Syracuse University. Spelman College awarded him a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. He is co-author of Three Aspects of Crisis in Colonial Kenya; author of “The United States and Liberia” in The African Experience: Past, Present, and Future and author of scores of official documents. Portsmouth, VA, his home town, named two streets in his honor and selected him as a “Portsmouth Notable” – the city’s highest honor.
Active in community service, he is on a number of boards, such as the World Affairs Council. The highly respected New Chesapeake Men for Progress Foundation selected him for the 2018 Lifetime Achievement Award. He is married to Marie Pierre Myrick and they live in Chesapeake. His children are Attorney Bismarck Myrick, Jr., Wesley Todd Myrick and Allison Elizabeth Myrick Sanders.