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Picture of Kathleen StephensBIOGRAPHY

Kathleen Stephens
Ambassador, Republic of Korea
Term of Appointment: 09/08/2008 to present

Kathleen Stephens was nominated by President Bush on January 23, 2008 and confirmed by the U.S. Senate on August 1, 2008 to be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Korea. A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, she most recently served as Political Advisor in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs at the Department of State.

From 2005 to 2007, Ms. Stephens was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs, responsible for a range of Bureau-wide issues, with particular responsibility for the management of U.S. relations with Japan and Korea.

From 2003 to 2005, she was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, focused on addressing Kosovo’s future status, completing the NATO-led mission in Bosnia-Herzegovina, and accelerating the integration of the western Balkans in Euro-Atlantic institutions.

Ms. Stephens joined the Foreign Service in 1978. Her overseas assignments have included Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Lisbon, Portugal (1998-2001), and U.S. Consul General in Belfast, Northern Ireland (1995-1998) during the consolidation of ceasefires and negotiation of the Good Friday Agreement. Earlier overseas assignments included consular and public affairs officer in Guangzhou, China (1980-1982), chief of the internal political unit in Seoul (1984-1987), and principal officer of the U.S. Consulate in Busan, Korea (1987-1989). Ms. Stephens was a political officer assigned to the U.S. mission in Yugoslavia, shuttling between Belgrade and Zagreb, during that country’s violent disintegration in the early ‘90s.

In Washington, Ms. Stephens was detailed to the National Security Council as Director for European Affairs, 1994-1995. At the Department of State, she also served tours as the senior UK country officer (1992-1994) and as director of the Office of Ecology and Terrestrial Conservation (2001-2003).

Ms. Stephens grew up in Arizona and has longstanding family ties to Montana. She holds a B.A. (Honors) in East Asian studies from Prescott College and a master’s degree from Harvard University. She studied at the University of Hong Kong (1972-1973). Ms. Stephens was a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea 1975-77. Her foreign languages are Korean and Serbian, with more limited competence in Chinese. She has one son, a student at Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering in Needham, Massachusetts.



Released on September 8, 2008

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