Don Petterson rose rapidly in the Foreign Service, serving in Mexico City, Zanzibar, Lagos and in several Department positions before becoming DCM in Sierra Leone, then Political Counselor in South Africa in the tense and challenging environment of the early 70s. Concentrating on African Affairs, Don served on the Secretary’s Policy Planning Staff 1975-77, as Director, Office of Southern African Affairs 1977-78, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the African Bureau Front Office. He went on to serve as Ambassador to Somalia, 1978-82; Deputy Director of the Department’s Office of Management Operations, 1984-6; Ambassador to Tanzania, 1988-9; Director, Liberian Task Force,1990; Charge d’Affairs in Zimbabwe 1990-1; and Ambassador to Sudan 1992-5. He was recalled from retirement to serve as Charge d’Affairs in Liberia in 1999 and was subsequently appointed Chairman, UN Abyei (Sudan-related) Boundaries Commission in 2005. He was elected as a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives from 2007 to 2010.