NAFSA Applauds Nomination of David Killion as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO



Contact: Ursula Oaks, 202.495.2553

For Release: June 25, 2009

WASHINGTON, June 25, 2009 – NAFSA welcomes President Obama's announcement today that he has nominated David T. Killion to be the next U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with the rank of ambassador.  

"The President has made an excellent choice in nominating David Killion as U.S. Ambassador to UNESCO," said NAFSA Executive Director and CEO Marlene M. Johnson. "David is a dedicated public servant and a skilled foreign-policy practitioner. This appointment speaks very well for the role that the U.S. mission to UNESCO can play in supporting President Obama's commitment to renewing America's engagement in the world."

Mr. Killion is a senior professional staff member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and is the Committee's leading expert on international organizations and State Department operations – a position he has held under both Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and the late Chairman and former Ranking Member Tom Lantos (D-Calif.). Mr. Killion has been a key player in shaping a renewed U.S. relationship with UNESCO over the past several years, working continually with the organization to refocus its mandate, streamline its operations, and enable it to more effectively pursue its important mission.

In his tenure at the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Killion has also had a leading role in advancing important international education and exchange initiatives to strengthen U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy. He was instrumental in helping to draft and shepherd through the House of Representatives a visionary piece of legislation, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act, which will dramatically increase the number of U.S. students studying abroad.

"The international education community congratulates David on this appointment," said Victor C. Johnson, NAFSA's senior advisor for public policy. "We know he will represent the United States in UNESCO with distinction, and we are honored to have had the opportunity to work with him during his years in the U.S. House of Representatives."

Earlier this year, NAFSA awarded Mr. Killion its Congressional Staff Champion Award for his commitment to advancing international education and for his contributions to expanding the ability of the United States to exercise responsible leadership in the world, particularly through his efforts to increase access for American college students to study abroad.

Prior to serving on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, Mr. Killion was an appointee of the Clinton administration in the State Department's Bureau of Legislative Affairs (1996-2001) and was a legislative assistant to Congressman David Skaggs (D-Colo.) (1994-1996). Mr. Killion is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and also holds an M.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles. His nomination is pending approval by the Senate.