Ambassador Kevin Whitaker is a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Adrienne Arsht Latin America Center. He served forty-two years in the US Foreign Service, achieving the rank of career minister. He was US ambassador to Colombia from 2014 to 2019, the longest-serving ambassador to that nation in a century. During that period, Whitaker worked with two US and two Colombian administrations and played a key role in the United States’ support for the 2016 Peace Accord between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia’s insurgency. With his team at the US embassy in Colombia, he designed and helped win the approval for a one-billion-dollar program of US financial support for Colombia as it implemented the historic accord.
Whitaker served in a number of senior positions at the US Department of State, including deputy chief of mission at the US Embassy in Caracas from 2005 to2007, deputy executive secretary, deputy assistant secretary for South America, and assignments throughout the hemisphere. He has expertise in civil-military relations and confronting transnational crime. He is the recipient of numerous State Department achievement awards and is a 2017 Presidential Rank Award winner. Whitaker is proud to call Virginia his home and obtained his bachelor’s degree with distinction from the University of Virginia in 1979.