Milton Nathaniel Barnes
Liberia's Ambassador & Permanent Representative
Ambassador M. Nathaniel Barnes spent his formative years in Harper, Maryland County and Monrovia, Liberia. He graduated from the College of West Africa (high school) in 1972. He briefly studied at the University of Liberia and worked as an intern in Liberia's banking system before eventually going to the United States for college. He entered Rider University (then Rider College) in Lawrenceville, New Jersey in 1975 where he majored in Finance. Upon acquiring a B.Sc. degree from Rider in 1978, he matriculated to Pace University in New York City where he obtained an MBA with concentration in Finance and Banking in 1979.
Ambassador Barnes comes from a legacy of public servants. His father, Roland, spent fifty years in public service in Liberia working in all three branches of government (Legislative, Executive and Judiciary). Roland Barnes was instrumental in representing Liberia by taking a leadership role at the Law of the Sea Forum, which developed legislation governing global ocean rights. His mother, Eudora, a teacher, dedicated over forty-five years of her life to educating young people in Liberia. Observing the example of both of his parents, he made the determination at a young age that he would one day serve his country, as well.
Ambassador Barnes began his professional career with The Insurance Company of Africa in Monrovia, after extensive training in management and insurance operations at affiliate company offices in Des Moines, Iowa, and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania United States of America. He returned to Liberia in December 1979 and managed the underwriting function of the Property and Casualty Division of the company. He and his wife Dawn left Liberia in July of 1980 as a result of the violent coup d’etat in April 1980. They settled in Nashville TN., where he got a job at a major Telecommunications and Network company as an analyst in the corporation’s treasury department. Over the nearly fourteen years at that company, he rose quickly through the management ranks; working in financial management, internal control and marketing. After leaving the corporation in 1996, he ran a successful telecommunications consulting firm.
In April 1998 Ambassador Barnes fulfilled his desire to return to Liberia where he started as an analyst at the Ministry of Finance.
In March 1999 he was appointed to the National Social Security and Welfare Corporation (NASSCORP) as Director General. In only a six-month period at NASCORP, he was able to completely transform the corporation from a debt ridden, under-funded entity into a more efficient one, by streamlining its workforce, challenging and motivating the management team and aggressively negotiating with creditors. In addition, he established a dynamic program to initiate an insurance reserve.
In September of 1999, Ambassador Barnes was appointed as Minister of Finance, Republic of Liberia, and held that position until July 2002. In that capacity, he became the chief architect of Liberia’s fiscal program. During his tenure as Minister, he oversaw and implemented a new Tax Code for Liberia in consultation with the Fiscal Affairs Department of the International Monetary Fund. During his tenure as Minister of Finance of Liberia, he conceptualized and developed a proposal for a Summit of Post-Conflict nations in Africa. At the Summit issues relevant to member nations' peculiar and unique experiences would be analyzed with the objective of formulating a plan for post-conflict reconstruction and rehabilitation. This plan was submitted to the global institutions through the African Development Bank for consideration. Ambassador Barnes developed a strong management team at the ministry and tasked, challenged and motivated all one thousand six hundred plus employees to new levels of productivity and excellence.
In May 2006, M. Nathaniel Barnes was appointed Ambassador & Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Republic of Liberia. He views this challenge as another opportunity to serve his country in its bid to reenter into the global comity of nations while pursuing its strategic economic, social and political objectives. Ambassador Barnes believes that "The thrust of our efforts here at the United Nations will be rebuilding our traditional relationships and forging new ones on a foundation of trust, understanding and mutual respect. Of course the primary focus will be how we utilize these mutually beneficial relationships to serve Liberia's economic, social and political interest."
While there are a variety of approaches that Ambassador Barnes uses to realize his objectives, his fundamental goal is singular: to make a positive impact on the lives of Liberian people.