Ambassador Sally Cowal is Senior Vice President, Global Health at the American Cancer Society. She leads the Society’s efforts to reduce the global burden of cancer primarily through advocacy for effective tobacco control measures; improvement of access to cancer screening, treatment and pain relief; and collaborations with other cancer control organizations, advocates and governments.
Cowal has been a key contributor to the public health and non-profit arenas, having helped found the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) in Switzerland and serving as its director for external relations to raise awareness of AIDS as a public health and economic issue, as well as serving as founder, president and CEO of the Cuba Policy Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study of the benefits of expanding trade and people-to-people contact with Cuba.
Cowal served as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago; appointed by President George Bush and re-appointed by President William Clinton, she was instrumental in convincing policy makers in Trinidad and Tobago, an oil and gas producing Caribbean country, to open its markets to foreign competition, privatize major utilities, and to address the impact of narcotics trafficking in the country. During her tenure, several Americans companies made major investments and began join or sole ventures in the country, capitalizing on inexpensive and available natural gas resources. She established an American Chamber of Commerce that today has over 200 corporations as members.
Cowal has also served as U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, minister counsellor for public affairs at the U.S. embassy in Mexico; as a key member of the Country Team, Cowal headed the United States Information Agency in Mexico and was Acting Deputy Chief of Mission on several occasions. She managed the USIS budget of $10 million and supervised 100 employees in three cities, adding a fourth branch post, Tijuana, recognizing the increased importance of the US-Mexican border relationship. She was the first woman elected to membership in the University Club of Mexico and served as an active participant on many American Chamber of Commerce committees and working groups. Other Foreign Service assignments have taken her from counsellor for political affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations to Colombia to Israel.
Cowal is a graduate of De Pauw University (B.A., 1966) and George Washington University (M.P.A., 1969).