Carey Cavanaugh

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Carey Cavanaugh
United States Ambassador
In office
Personal details
Born 1955
Jacksonville, Florida
Spouse(s) Laura Kokx
Children Chase


Alma mater University of Florida

Notre Dame

Profession Diplomat and Professor
Religion Roman Catholic

Carey Cavanaugh (born 1955, Jacksonville, Florida) is a former U.S. Ambassador who is now Director of the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky. For twenty-two years, he served as a Foreign Service officer with the U.S. Department of State. In addition to Washington assignments in the State Department, Pentagon and on Capitol Hill, Ambassador Cavanaugh served in Berlin, Moscow, Tbilisi, Rome, and Bern. He joined the Patterson School in 2006, where he is also professor of diplomacy and conflict resolution. He continues to work periodically on special assignments for the State Department's Inspector General.

Background and education[edit]

Cavanaugh grew up in the Jacksonville Beaches (primarily Atlantic Beach). His mother—Sylvia Cavanaugh Ponti—was an artist and a writer; his father was a U.S. Navy non-commissioned officer. After his parents' divorce, he moved with his mother to Italy for two years before the family returned to Florida. He began studying Russian in ninth grade at Duncan U. Fletcher High School in Neptune Beach and, after briefly starting with nuclear engineering, majored in Russian at the University of Florida. There he was a member of Delta Chi Fraternity. In 1975 he also studied briefly at Leningrad Polytechnical Institute. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors in 1976.

He went on to graduate study in government and international affairs at the University of Notre Dame, receiving a Masters of Art degree in 1978. He continued work toward a Ph.D., but left before completion in 1981 to accept a tenure-track position teaching international affairs and Soviet and East European studies at Youngstown State University[1] in Ohio. In the summers of 1982 and 1983, he was an intern and did research at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty in Munich.[2]

Cavanaugh later attended the U.S. Army Russian Institute in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany in 1988-1989 and was a fellow of MIT's Center for International Studies' Seminar XXI in 1994-1995.[3] In 2001-2002, he was a member of the Department of State's 44th Senior Seminar. At the Foreign Service Institute, he also studied German and Italian.

Government service[edit]

Entering the Foreign Service in 1984, Cavanaugh rose to the rank of Minister Counselor, with a career focused on conflict resolution, assistance, and humanitarian issues. His first tour of duty was at the U.S. Mission to Berlin (West) where he worked primarily on consular affairs and political reporting on Iran.[4] This was followed by assignment to the Office of Soviet Affairs in Washington to handle bilateral relations and some arms control issues, in particular implementation of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. Afterwards, as a political officer at the American Embassy in Moscow, he was responsible for Soviet relations towards Europe (in particular the Two Plus Four Agreement on German unification), arms control issues (the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe), and the new USSR Supreme Soviet Defense and State Security Committee.[5] He worked directly with Chairman Les Aspin (D-Wisconsin) and House Committee on Armed Services members to instruct their Supreme Soviet counterparts on how to perform legislative oversight.[6]

In 1991-92, he was an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow, working with Senator Carl Levin (D-Michigan).[7] When Eduard Shevardnadze became President of the Republic of Georgia in 1992, Cavanaugh was sent to Tbilisi as Chargé d'affaires, leading the team that established the U.S. embassy to that new independent state.[8] After Tbilisi, Cavanaugh was assigned to the US Embassy in Rome to cover the communist and socialist parties, as well as European policy issues. The State Department cut short this assignment to return him to Washington to help with the multi-billion dollar assistance program for the former Soviet Union and shortly after to support international and US efforts to advance peace in the Caucasus.

Under the administrations of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush, Cavanaugh spearheaded or helped advance peace efforts involving Armenia, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Tajikistan, and Turkey. During his service as Director of Southern European Affairs and Acting Special Cyprus Coordinator, he received the Clement Dunn Award for Excellence for defusing the crisis that arose when Cyprus purchased a Russian S-300 (missile) system capable of striking Turkey.[9] He later dealt with the issues of Nazi gold and Holocaust-era assets, while serving as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Switzerland.[10] In 2000, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Ambassador/Special Negotiator responsible for conflicts in Eurasia and to serve as U.S. Co-Chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group.[11] This assignment culminated in OSCE peace talks on Nagorno-Karabakh with the President of Azerbaijan Heydar Aliev and the President of Armenia Robert Kocharyan at Harry S Truman's Little White House in Key West, Florida.[12]

Cavanaugh was president of the Department of State's Senior Seminar in 2001-2002. Afterwards, he worked for three years as a senior inspector/team leader in State's Office of the Inspector General. Cavanaugh's final official assignment was foreign policy/political advisor to Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Academic work[edit]

Cavanaugh was appointed tenured full professor at the University of Kentucky and director of its Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce in August 2006.[13] The Patterson School is a highly ranked, selective graduate program (established in 1959) that prepares students for professional careers in international affairs.

Under Cavanaugh's leadership, the size of this master's degree program has been capped at 35 new students each year and the international commerce curriculum expanded, in part by substantial outreach to major corporations in the Midwest and South. He similarly grew the program's co-curricular activities so that Patterson School students typically visit 10-12 corporations, non-governmental organizations, or government agencies during their tenure. This includes exposing students directly to the US armed forces with visits to Fort Knox, Fort Benning, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Cavanaugh also established greater engagement with defense/security entities such as the Y-12 National Security Complex and Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee[14] and the US Army War College.[15] His teaching focuses on negotiation, mediation and conflict resolution; the diplomacy of nuclear weapons; and international ethics.

Current affiliations and activities[edit]

Cavanaugh is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations (New York) and the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London). He serves as a director and trustee of Conciliation Resources, a British non-governmental organization dealing with conflict prevention and peace building, and is a member of the advisory council of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars' Kennan Institute.[16] He is also involved in a multi-year effort to address the problem of fraternity hazing on college and university campuses in the United States and Canada by serving on a presidential commission for the North American Interfraternity Conference (NIC)[17] The commissioners' report will impact more than 5,500 fraternity chapters on more than 800 campuses with approximately 350,000 members. Cavanaugh was a founding board member of the Henry Clay Center for Statesmanship in 2007 and until 2013 was responsible for developing the curriculum for its annual student congress.[18] He works periodically with the Geneva-based Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue and the United States Army War College Center for Strategic Leadership. He has also served repeatedly as a senior scholar for IREX (International Research & Exchanges Board) and is a regular speaker for the American Committees on Foreign Relations.[19]


Cavanaugh married Laura Kokx of Hart, Michigan in 1981. They have two sons, Chase (who is a general news reporter for NPR affiliate WUKY[20]) and Keith (who is concentrating in computer science at the Georgia Institute of Technology), and reside in Lexington, Kentucky.


  1. ^ Jo Ann Kolarik, "Professor Accepts Position as Diplomat," The Jambar, May 29, 1984
  2. ^ This included producing one of the first public reports on Soviet Politburo member Mikhail Gorbachev, "Gorbachev and the Food Program: Weak Support for a Weak Policy," RL 268/82, Radio Liberty Research Bulletin (Munich: Germany: Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, July 2, 1982)
  3. ^
  4. ^ He was also responsible for American Citizen Services, providing assistance to the victims and their families when Libya bombed the La Belle Disco in Berlin in 1986. See "Democratic Change Blows across Arab World, Cincinnati Enquirer, March 26, 2011.
  5. ^ See James Schumaker, "In the Eye of the Storm: Team SOV," Foreign Service Journal, December 2011, pp. 39-42.
  6. ^ See Michael R. Gordon, "Soviets are Trying Out Legislative Oversight of the Military," New York Times, August 14, 1989.
  7. ^ Jeffrey R. Biggs, A Congress of Fellows: Fifty Years of the APSA Congressional Fellowship Program, 1953-2003, p. 195.
  8. ^ Margaret D. Tutweiler, "US Embassy Opens in Georgia," State Department Dispatch, May 4, 1992. *U.S. State Department Chiefs of Mission by Country, Georgia
  9. ^ US Department of State Daily Press Briefing, May 6, 1997. Also, CNN, "Cyprus to Delay Receipt of Missiles," January 13, 1997.
  10. ^ Stuart Eizenstat, Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor, and the Unfinished Business of World War II, (PublicAffairs, 2003), p. 387.
  11. ^ "President Names Carey Cavanaugh for the Rank of Ambassador," Office of the Press Secretary, the White House, February 2, 2000 and Office of the Historian, "History of the Department of State During the Clinton Presidency (1993-2001)," US Department of State. Appendix 4: Clinton Appointments (1993-2000): Rank of Ambassador. May 31, 2000
  12. ^ "Key West Peace Talks on Nagorno-Karabakh, Richard Boucher, Spokesman. Press Release, US Department of State, March 14, 2001. See also Douglas Frantz, "Armenia and Azerbaijan Signal Progress in Talks on Enclave," New York Times, February 20, 2001.
  13. ^ PR-2 Academic Appointments, Minutes of the Meeting of the University of Kentucky Board of Trustees, Office of the President, September 12, 2006.
  14. ^ Frank Munger, "Future Diplomats Get Field Level View in Oak Ridge," Knoxville News, May 2, 2011.
  15. ^ Colonel Samuel White, Jr., "USAWC and University of Kentucky Educate Tomorrow's Diplomats," The Collins Center Update, Volume 13, Issue 1. October–December 2010.
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ Beverly Fortune, "Henry Clay Inspires Center - Goal is to Teach Statesmanship," Lexington Herald Leader, July 6, 2007
  19. ^;
  20. ^

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
United States Chief of Mission to Georgia
Charge d'affaires, a.i.
Succeeded by
Ambassador Kent N. Brown
Preceded by
Ambassador James Williams
United States Special Cyprus Coordinator
Succeeded by
Thomas J. Miller
Preceded by
Donald Keyser
U.S. Special Negotiator for Eurasian Conflicts
U.S. Minsk Group Co-Chairman

Succeeded by
Ambassador Rudolph Perina
Academic offices
Preceded by
Dr. Michael Desch
Director, Patterson School of Diplomacy
University of Kentucky

Succeeded by