David T. Killion
Ambassador David T. Killion was nominated as U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO with the rank of Ambassador on June 25, 2009 by President Obama and was sworn into office on August 12, 2009. Since his appointment, Ambassador Killion has worked tirelessly to advance U.S. national interests at UNESCO and help the organization to fulfill its mandate of building peace, eradicating poverty, and achieving sustainable development solutions for today’s global challenges.
Ambassador Killion believes strongly in the value of UNESCO as a forum to advance security and fight extremism, and has worked to ensure that the organization remains focused on and equipped to achieve these goals. He ensured that U.S. priorities were met in the 2009 Director-General election and by insisting on the cancellation of a planned World Philosophy Day in Iran in 2010. He also played a critical role in the re-election of the U.S. to UNESCO’s Executive Board in 2011 and facilitated the very first visit to UNESCO by a sitting U.S. Secretary of State.
Under Ambassador Killion’s leadership, the U.S. has championed innovative, efficient initiatives across the education, science, culture, and communication and information sectors at UNESCO. The U.S. Mission to UNESCO played a leading role in the establishment of the Global Partnership for Girls’ and Women’s Education, supported UNESCO’s role in promoting the use of Open Educational Resources, and facilitated new public-private partnerships with U.S. companies such as Microsoft, Procter & Gamble, and Google. The U.S. helped strengthen UNESCO’s work in Holocaust education and supported a historic interfaith visit to Auschwitz that included dignitaries from over forty countries. The Mission sharpened UNESCO’s youth protection focus by supporting anti-homophobic bullying initiatives and facilitating the establishment of the Rutgers International Institute for Peace as the second UNESCO Category II Center in the United States. Finally, the U.S. Mission led the way in establishing the first annual International Jazz Day, celebrated in more than 60 countries in April 2012.
Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Killion served as a Senior Professional Staff member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs and was the Committee’s top expert on International Organizations and State Department Operations. He managed the drafting of the State Department Authorization Act for Fiscal Years 2010 and 2011 on behalf of Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-CA), which passed the House on June 10, 2009. He also coordinated the Committee’s initiatives to improve UN management and to reform UN human rights mechanisms, and served as the Committee’s expert on educational and cultural exchanges.
Ambassador Killion served as top UN advisor to the previous Chair and Ranking Member of the Committee, the late Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA). In this capacity he worked on legislation that Mr. Lantos introduced and passed in 2001 authorizing the U.S.’s re-entry to UNESCO.
Prior to serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Ambassador Killion was an appointee of the Clinton Administration in the Department of State, in the bureau of Legislative Affairs (1996-2001), and as a legislative assistant to Congressman David Skaggs (D-C0) (1994-1996).
Mr. Killion holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and an M.A. from the University of California at Los Angeles.