John M. O'Keefe
Executive Director, Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress
Term of Appointment: August 2007 to present
Former ambassador John O'Keefe, of Vienna, Virginia, is the Executive Director of the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of Congress. Before assuming his duties as Executive Director, he had a long and distinguished career with the U.S. Department of State.
As U.S. Ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic from 2000 to 2003, O’Keefe negotiated the treaty allowing Coalition forces to establish a base there in support of operations in Afghanistan. He also set up an investment advisory council headed by the President of Kyrgyzstan to attract foreign capital, worked with Kyrgyzstan’s President and Minister of Education to make university acceptance merit-based, and created an outreach program to the Muslim community.
More recently, O’Keefe served as Acting Director General and then Deputy Director of the Foreign Service Institute of the U.S. State Department (February 2006 to August 2007). From 2003 to 2006, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary for the Office of the Director General, Bureau of Human Resources, and head of the Office of Career Development and Assignments.
Before being named Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan in 2000, O’Keefe held a series of high-profile management positions with the State Department. As Management Counselor in Belgrade from 1989 to 1992, during the violent breakup of Yugoslavia, he played a key role in protecting the American staff of the U.S. mission, ultimately evacuating them from the embassy in Belgrade, the Consulate General in Zagreb, and U.S. information offices in Ljubljana, Podgorica, Sarajevo, and Skopje. Next, as Deputy Executive Director of the Bureau of European Affairs from 1992 to 1995, O’Keefe helped establish the United States’ diplomatic presence in the countries of the former Yugoslavia and the former Soviet Union. While Management Minister-Counselor in Moscow from 1996 to 1998, he oversaw the construction of the secure new chancery building. He returned to the United States in 1998 to serve as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Management.
Ambassador O'Keefe has received the Distinguished Honor Award, the Replogle Award for Management Improvement, and the Presidential Meritorious Service Award. He was also awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters by the American University Central Asia. He has served as the Treasurer of the International School of Belgrade, Vice President of the Board of the International School Manila, and Chairman of the Board of the Anglo-American School of Moscow.
Ambassador O'Keefe has a B.S. in Business Administration from Loyola College in Baltimore, Maryland, and a Master of Public Administration from Harvard University. He speaks Russian and Serbo-Croatian.