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KEI Spotlight

Ambassador Kathleen Stephens Appointed as President & CEO of KEI

May 23, 2018

The Board of Directors at the Korea Economic Institute of America (KEI) is pleased to announce that they have unanimously approved Ambassador Kathleen Stephens to become KEI’s new President & CEO effective September 1, 2018.

Stephens' connection with Korea began in 1975 when she spent two years in Chungnam Province as a Peace Corps volunteer. She returned in the 1980s to serve for six years as a political officer in the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and then as principal officer at the U.S. Consulate in Busan. In 2008, she was nominated and confirmed as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, the first Korean-language speaker and first woman in that role, serving from 2008 to 2011.

Ambassador Stephens was a U.S. Foreign Service officer from 1978 to 2015. In addition to Korea, her other diplomatic postings included China, India, Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland. She was on the National Security Council staff in the 1990s, and served in senior positions at the Department of State, including Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs (2003-2005), Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs (2005-2007), and acting Undersecretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (2012). Since 2015, she has been the William J. Perry Fellow at Stanford University's Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC), where she teaches classes on U.S. foreign policy, diplomacy and U.S.-Korea relations.

“This is an important time in the U.S.-Korea relationship,” Ambassador Stephens said. “Interest in the policy challenges we face is higher than I've ever seen it, whether on the Hill, in media and academia, or in the broader public. I look forward to joining a great team at KEI, and to doing all I can to deepen dialogue, understanding and cooperation on the range of issues critical to the future of Korea and our relationship."

Ambassador Stephens will succeed KEI President & CEO Donald Manzullo, who will retire at the end of June. President Manzullo joined KEI in 2013 following a 20-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives, where he served as the Chairman of the Subcommittee on Asia and the Pacific.

“It was an honor to serve as president of KEI for the last five and a half years,” Manzullo said. “I’m proud of what we have been able to accomplish in terms of adding to the policy dialogue here in Washington, meeting personally with more than 200 members of Congress to discuss important issues in the U.S.-Korea Alliance, and travelling all over the country to talk to students, businesspeople, and state and local government officials about the Korean Peninsula.”

"I am very pleased with the Board selection of Ambassador Stephens, who is highly qualified and knowledgeable, to steer the KEI at this critical time," Manzullo said.