November 7, 2011 Ambassador Johnnie Carson to Discuss His Foreign Service Career in Africa

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Ambassador Johnnie Carson, the assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of African Affairs, will take part in a program titled “Forty Years of Dedication to Africa: A Dialogue with Ambassador Johnnie Carson.”

Sponsored by the African Section of the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, the program will be held at noon on Thursday, Dec. 8 in the division’s reading room, located in Room 220 of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First Street S.E., Washington, D.C.

Ambassador Carson was sworn in as assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of African Affairs on May 7, 2009. Prior to this appointment, he was the national intelligence officer for Africa at the National Intelligence Council. He also served as the senior vice president of the National Defense University in Washington, D.C., from 2003-2006.

Carson’s 37-year career in the foreign service included ambassadorships to Kenya (1999-2003), Zimbabwe (1995-1997) and Uganda (1991-1994). From 1997-1999, he served as principal deputy assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs.

Earlier in his career, he was assigned to Portugal (1982-1986), Botswana (1986-1990), Mozambique (1975-1978) and Nigeria (1969-1971). He has also served as desk officer in the Africa section at the Department of State’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, Carson was a Peace Corps volunteer in Tanzania from 1965-1968. He holds 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 former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. The Centers for Disease Control presented Carson with its “Champion of Prevention Award” for his leadership in directing the U.S. government’s HIV/AIDS prevention efforts in Kenya.

Founded in 1800, the Library of Congress is the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution. The Library seeks to spark imagination and creativity and to further human understanding and wisdom by providing access to knowledge through its magnificent collections, programs and exhibitions. Many of the Library’s rich resources can be accessed through its website at and via interactive exhibitions on a personalized website at

The African and Middle Eastern Division is the Library’s center for the study of some 78 countries and regions from Southern Africa to the Maghreb and from the Middle East to Central Asia. The African Section is the focal point of the Library's collection development, reference, and bibliographic activities for the countries of sub-Saharan Africa. For information on its collections, visit


PR 11-213
ISSN 0731-3527