The World Food Prize Foundation

2019 Borlaug Dialogue Speakers

Hon. Kristie A. Kenney

Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University

Ambassador Kristie Kenney holds the State Department's highest rank of Career Ambassador. Over her 30-year career, she represented the United States abroad as Ambassador three times and served in senior positions at the State Department and the White House.  

Ambassador Kenney served as the 32nd Counselor of the State Department, the Department's fifth ranking official position.  She is a frequent public speaker on leadership and foreign policy.  She currently teaches a course on leadership at Georgetown University. 

As Ambassador to Thailand, Ambassador Kenney led U.S. assistance during Thailand’s devastating 2011 floods and managed the response to the 2014 military coup.  She was the first female to head U.S. Embassy Bangkok, one of the United States largest diplomatic missions with over 3,000 staff. 

She was the U.S Ambassador to the Philippines from 2006-2010 and was also the first woman to hold that post.  During this and subsequent assignments, she pioneered use of social media by U.S. Ambassadors to connect with diverse foreign audiences.  Earlier, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Ecuador.

Ambassador Kenney grew up in Washington, DC. She holds a Bachelors degree from Clemson University and a Masters degree from Tulane University. She also attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. She speaks Spanish and French as well as some Thai and Tagalog.  She is married to Ambassador William Brownfield. When not rooting for Washington area sports teams, Ambassador Kenney enjoys travel, the outdoors, and connecting with social media friends around the globe.

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