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An Interview with Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins is the founder of Women of Color Advancing Peace Security and Conflict Transformation, an organization working to promote diversity in the fields such as security and nonproliferation. She is the former Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs at the US State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation. She has served as the U.S. representative to the G7 Global Partnership Against the Spread of Weapons and Materials of Mass Destruction (WMD) and chaired the Global Partnership in 2012. She also played a key role in the Global Health Security Agenda in 2014.

Could you begin by telling us a bit about your past work at the Department of State (DOS) and also where you are now?

Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins: I’ve have a long history working in government. I started working in government in the 1990s. Then I came back in 2009 because I was asked to join the Obama administration. I came back and went to the State Department, where I was an ambassador, and my title was Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs. What that means is that I was a coordinator for a US DOS program to prevent weapons of mass destruction terrorism.

The first few years, I focused mainly on chemical, nuclear, biological, and radiological security issues. Towards the end of my time in government, starting in 2014, I also started working in the area of infectious disease. That’s mainly because the US government decided to look at the issue of infectious diseases more holistically, and to create an understanding of how we prevent, detect and respond to infectious diseases by having a multidisciplinary approach. So that means bringing in different parts of government to work together on combating infectious disease both domestically and globally. The work that I did previously on biosecurity incorporated into that larger government effort, on the side of prevention, ensuring that bio-pathogens cannot be stolen or taken by people who want to do bad things...

from The Politic - read full text


Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins served as the U.S. State Department's Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation from 2009 to 2016. Prior to rejoining the U.S. Government, Ambassador Jenkins most recently served as the Program Officer for U.S. Foreign and Security policy at the Ford Foundation.


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