Member, Board of Trustees
2013-14 Koret Fellow in Korean Studies, Stanford University
Former U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea
Ambassador Kathleen Stephens rejoined The Asia Foundation Board of Trustees in 2015 upon her return from seven months' service in India as the Charge d'Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi. Prior to that she was a Koret Fellow at Stanford University's Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center for the 2013-2014 year. Amb. Stephens, a career diplomat in the U.S. Foreign Service, was Acting Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs in 2012, and U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Korea, 2008-2011.
During her diplomatic career Stephens served in numerous posts in Washington, Asia, and Europe. From 2005 to 2007 she was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs (EAP). While Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs (EUR) from 2003 to 2005, she focused on post-conflict and stabilization issues in the Balkans. She was Director for European Affairs at the National Security Council during the Clinton Administration. Stephens' overseas postings included service in China, Korea, Yugoslavia, Northern Ireland, Portugal, and Trinidad & Tobago.
Stephens holds a bachelor's degree in Asian Studies from Prescott College, and holds a master's degree from Harvard University, along with honorary doctoral degrees from Chungnam National University and the University of Maryland. Ambassador Stephens studied at the University of Hong Kong. She was a Peace Corps volunteer in Korea in the 1970s.