Georgetown U Center for Global Health Science and Security
Jimmy J. Kolker, is an opinion leader and active expert and advocate on issues related to global health, diplomacy and Africa.
He was an American diplomat, serving as the ambassador to Burkina Faso from 1999 to 2002 and Uganda from 2002 to 2005.
After retiring from the Foreign Service, Kolker was Chief of the HIV/AIDS Section at UNICEF’s New York headquarters 2007-2011.
2011-2017, Amb. Kolker was Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC, serving as the Department’s chief health diplomat.
Now retired, Amb. Kolker is on pro bono boards of Building Tomorrow, Firelight Foundation, MANA Nutrition and the G4Surgery Alliance. He is a visiting scholar at Georgetown U's Center for Global Health and Security and at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is an advisor to Last Mile Health, to One Health Workforce – Next Generation and to Texas Children's Hospital's Global HOPE pediatric cancer initiative. Amb. Kolker co-teaches a graduate course on Global Health Security at Georgetown School of Foreign Service.
In June, 2019, Amb. Kolker was the commencement speaker at Carleton College, speaking on "How To Be Prepared for the Jobs That Don't Yet Exist". He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the ceremony.
Jimmy Kolker joined the U.S. foreign service in 1977, and held diplomatic reporting posts in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. He then moved to management jobs as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Botswana from 1990 to 1994, and in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1996 to 1999.
President Bill Clinton nominated Kolker as United States Ambassador to Burkina Faso on July 1, 1999, and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November, 1999. He left the post on August 2, 2002.
President George W. Bush nominated Kolker as United States Ambassador to Uganda and he was confirmed on October 3, 2002. He left this post on September 30, 2005.
From 2005 to 2007, Kolker was Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, leading implementation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). From 2007 to 2011, Kolker was Chief of the HIV/AIDS Section at UNICEF’s New York headquarters. He led UNICEF's work on HIV and AIDS, focusing on mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, pediatric treatment, prevention among adolescents and young people and protection for children and families affected by AIDS.
In November 2011, Kolker returned to the U.S. Government, taking on the role of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. This office is part of the Office of the HHS Secretary. In 2014, Ambassador Kolker was promoted to Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services.  Kolker represented HHS at interagency and World Health Organization meetings. His office had a leading role in global health security. He was also alternate US board member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.
Jimmy Kolker graduated with a B.A., magna cum laude from Carleton College and received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship 1970-71, which he spent in Chad, Uganda and Ghana. Kolker earned a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School in 1983.
He served for four years on the Senate staff of U.S. Senator James Abourezk (D-SD).
Kolker speaks French, Swedish, and Portuguese as foreign languages. He is married to Britt-Marie Forslund. They have two daughters.
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose
Thursday, October 22, 2020
12:30pm – 1:45pm EDT