Ambassador Johnnie Carson, senior adviser to the United States Institute of Peace, served as U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 2009 to 2013.
Prior to this he was the national intelligence officer for Africa at the National Intelligence Council after serving as senior vice president of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C. (2003-2006).
Carson's 37-year foreign service career includes ambassadorships to Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995-1997), and Uganda (1991-1994). He was principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs (1997-1999). Earlier in his career he had assignments in Portugal (1982-1986), Botswana (1986-1990), Mozambique (1975-1978), and Nigeria (1969-1971). He also served as desk officer in the Africa section at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research (1971-1974), staff officer for the secretary of state (1978-1979), and staff director for the Africa Subcommittee of the U.S. House of Representatives (1979-1982).
Before joining the Foreign Service, Ambassador Carson was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania (1965-1968). He has a bachelor’s degree in history and political science from Drake University and a master’s degree in international relations from the School of Oriental and Africa Studies at the University of London.
Ambassador Carson is the recipient of several Superior Honor Awards from the Department of State and a Meritorious Service Award from Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The Centers for Disease Control presented Ambassador Carson its highest honor, the Champion of Prevention Award, for his leadership in directing the U.S. government's HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Kenya.