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Ambassador Johnnie Carson

IAC member
Ambassador Johnnie Carson is a member of Afrobarometer’s International Advisory Council.


Ambassador Johnnie Carson currently serves as senior adviser to the United States Institute of Peace and the Albright Stonebridge Group. In 2023, Ambassador Carson served as President Biden’s Special Envoy for the Implementation of the Pledges made at the Biden Administration’s 2022 US-Africa Leaders Summit. Ambassador Carson is a former career diplomat who served as assistant secretary of state for African affairs during the first administration of President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2013. In a career that has spanned more than 40 years, Ambassador Carson has held ambassadorships in three countries: Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995-1997), and Uganda (1991-1994). Earlier in his career, he served as principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs, staff director of the House Subcommittee on Africa, national intelligence officer for Africa, and deputy chief of mission in Mozambique and Botswana.

He has also held assignments at the U.S. embassies in Portugal, England, and Nigeria. Ambassador Carson earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and a master’s degree in international relations from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. Ambassador Carson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a board member of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the National Democratic Institute.

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