Kurt Volker

Senior Adviser, Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security

volker kurt

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US Defense Policy, US Foreign Policy

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Full Bio

Kurt Volker is a senior adviser to the Brent Scowcroft Center on International Security and member of the Atlantic Council's Strategic Advisors Group.

He is a former US Ambassador to NATO, is executive director of the McCain Institute for International Leadership, a part of Arizona State University, and is also senior fellow of the Center on Transatlantic Relations at the Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Prior to joining SAIS, Ambassador Volker was a career member of the United States Senior Foreign Service, with over 23 years of experience working on European political and security issues under five US administrations. He served as ambassador and the nineteenth US permanent representative on the Council of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) from July 2, 2008 until May 17, 2009, leading a staff of 156 at the US Mission to NATO.

At NATO, Ambassador Volker straddled the transition covering the Bush and Obama administrations, and oversaw US preparations for NATO's 60th Anniversary Summit, which took place in Strasbourg, France and Kehl, Germany on April 3 to 4, 2009. He worked to rebuild a stronger sense of community within the Alliance, and to use that renewed solidarity to strengthen support for NATO operations in Afghanistan, relations with Russia and Europe's East, peace and stability in the Balkans, and NATO's role in tackling security challenges in the twenty-first century.

Prior to his service at NATO, Ambassador Volker served as principal deputy assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs from July 2005 until June 2008. He had previously served as acting senior director for European and Eurasian affairs at the National Security Council (NSC). From 1999 to 2001, Ambassador Volker was deputy director of the Private Office of then-NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson. He was first secretary at the US Mission to NATO from 1998 to 1999, responsible for the Membership Action Plan and Partnership for Peace issues. As a State Department legislative fellow in the US Senate from 1997 to 1998, Ambassador Volker worked on foreign policy matters for Senator John McCain. His prior Foreign Service assignments include Budapest, London, and several positions in the US Department of State.

Ambassador Volker has a BA from Temple University and an MA in international relations from the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University. He has studied in Sweden and France and speaks Hungarian, Swedish and French.