Johnnie Carson

Senior Advisor to the President

Ambassador Johnnie Carson was sworn in as assistant secretary of state for the bureau of African affairs, on May 7, 2009. Prior to this he was the national intelligence officer for Africa at the National Intelligence Council, after serving as the senior vice president of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. (2003-2006).

Carson's 37-year foreign service career includes ambassadorships to Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995-1997), and Uganda (1991-1994); and principal deputy assistant secretary for the bureau of African Affairs (1997-1999). Earlier in his career he had assignments in Portugal (1982-1986), Botswana (1986-1990), Mozambique (1975-1978), and Nigeria (1969-1971). He has also served as desk officer in the Africa section at State's bureau of intelligence and research (1971-1974); staff officer for the secretary of state (1978-1979), and staff director for the Africa Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives (1979-1982).

Before joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Carson was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania from 1965-1968. He has a Bachelor of Arts in History and Political Science from Drake University and a Master of Arts in International Relations from the School of Oriental and Africa Studies at the University of London.

Ambassador Carson is the recipient of several Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State and a Meritorious Service Award from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The Centers for Disease Control presented Ambassador Carson its highest award, "Champion of Prevention Award," for his leadership in directing the U.S. Government's HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Kenya.

Articles & Analysis by this Expert

July 3, 2014
By:
Fiona Mangan, George Lopez, Johnnie Carson

In non-violent uprisings and more full scale revolutions ranging from the Arab spring to the overthrow of the President in Ukraine, one common underlying propellant was rebellion against government corruption. The same fuel has fed continuing turmoil in post-revolutionary Libya and undercut Nigeria's fight against Boko Haram. Yet the role of acute corruption in fomenting protests and violence is underappreciated and makes Western efforts to combat it insufficient.

May 23, 2014
by
Johnnie Carson, Kristin Lord, Princeton N. Lyman
September 30, 2013
by
Johnnie Carson

In the News

April 3, 2014

Veteran U.S. diplomat Johnnie Carson, now a senior adviser at the U.S. Institute for Peace, said the Rwanda genocide taught the world it has to move quickly. "Act swiftly, and to muster the resources of the international community to condemn and engage ...