by Shreya Arora (H'24)
On February 7, 2023, Georgetown University’s Conversations in Health: Global to Local course welcomed Ambassador Jimmy Kolker to engage in a meaningful discussion on his career path and the field of global health diplomacy. Ambassador Kolker had a distinguished 30-year diplomatic career in the U.S. State Department, serving as the ambassador to Burkina Faso from 1999 to 2002 and to Uganda from 2002 to 2005. He then led the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) between 2002 and 2005 and the HIV/AIDS program at UNICEF between 2007 and 2011. In 2017, Ambassador Kolker retired from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) after serving as the assistant secretary for global affairs, where he represented the United States at the World Health Organization and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. Ambassador Kolker’s experience working at multilateral institutions and the federal government through various health emergencies—including the HIV/AIDS pandemic, Ebola virus epidemic, and the H1N1 swine flu pandemic—brought a nuanced and unique perspective to the conversation.