Jimmy J. Kolker

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Jimmy J. Kolker
14th United States Ambassador to Burkina Faso
In office
November 16, 1999 – August 2, 2002
PresidentBill Clinton
George W. Bush
Preceded bySharon P. Wilkinson
Succeeded byJ. Anthony Holmes
15th United States Ambassador to Uganda
In office
November 9, 2002 – September 30, 2005
PresidentGeorge W. Bush
Preceded byMartin George Brennan
Succeeded bySteven A. Browning
Personal details
Born1948 (age 71–72)
St. Louis, Missouri
Spouse(s)Britt-Marie Forslund
Alma materCarleton College
Harvard University

Jimmy J. Kolker (born 1948) is an American diplomat. He was the ambassador to Burkina Faso from 1999 to 2002 and Uganda from 2002 to 2005.[1] He was Chief of the HIV/AIDS Section at UNICEF’s New York headquarters 2007-2011. 2011-2017, Amb. Kolker was Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Washington, DC.

Now retired, Amb. Kolker serves on the boards of the ABInBev Foundation, Building Tomorrow and Firelight Foundation. He is a visiting scholar at Georgetown U's Center for Global Health and Security and at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. He is an advisor to Last Mile Health, Catholic Relief Services' Changing the Way We Care project and to Texas Children's Hospital's Global HOPE pediatric cancer initiative.

In June, 2019, Amb. Kolker was the commencement speaker at Carleton College, "How To Be Prepared for the Jobs That Don't Yet Exist". He received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters at the ceremony.

Early life[edit]

Kolker graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 1966.[2]


Jimmy Kolker was born in 1948 in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated with a B.A., magna cum laude from Carleton College and received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship 1970-71, which he spent in Chad, Uganda and Ghana. Kolker earned a Masters in Public Administration from Harvard University in 1983. He served for four years on the Senate staff of U.S. Senator James Abourezk.

Kolker joined the U.S. foreign service in 1977, and held diplomatic reporting posts in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Sweden, and the United Kingdom. He then moved to management jobs as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Botswana from 1990 to 1994, and in Copenhagen, Denmark from 1996 to 1999.

President Bill Clinton nominated Kolker as United States Ambassador to Burkina Faso on July 1, 1999, and he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate in November, 1999.[3] He left the post on August 2, 2002.

President George W. Bush nominated Kolker as United States Ambassador to Uganda and he was confirmed on October 3, 2002. He left this post on September 30, 2005.

From 2005 to 2007, Kolker was Deputy U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, leading implementation of the President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). From 2007 to 2011, Kolker was Chief of the HIV/AIDS Section at UNICEF’s New York headquarters. He led UNICEF's work on HIV and AIDS, focusing on mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, pediatric treatment, prevention among adolescents and young people and protection for children and families affected by AIDS.

In November 2011, Kolker returned to the U.S. Government, taking on the role of Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. This office is part of the Office of the HHS Secretary. In 2014, Ambassador Kolker was promoted to Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs in the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. [4] Kolker represented HHS at interagency and World Health Organization meetings. His office had a leading role in global health security. He was also alternate US board member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria.

Kolker speaks French, Swedish, and Portuguese as foreign languages. He is married to Britt-Marie Forslund. They have two daughters – Anne and Eva.[5]


  1. ^ "Office of the Historian - Department History - People - Jimmy J. Kolker". History.state.gov. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
  2. ^ Ladue Horton Watkins High School website, "Distinguished Alumni". Accessed 08 February 2018.
  3. ^ "Online Library Archives". Archives.clintonpresidentialcenter.org. Retrieved 2011-11-26.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs". HHS.gov. Retrieved 2014-04-09.
  5. ^ "Press centre - Jimmy Kolker - Chief of HIV/AIDS, Programme Division". UNICEF. Retrieved 2011-11-26.
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Sharon P. Wilkinson
United States Ambassador to Burkina Faso
Succeeded by
J. Anthony Holmes
Preceded by
Martin George Brennan
United States Ambassador to Uganda
Succeeded by
Steven A. Browning

 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Department of State website https://www.state.gov/countries-areas/ (U.S. Bilateral Relations Fact Sheets).