Karen Kornbluh

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Karen Kornbluh
Karen Kornbluh, US ambassador to the OECD (4382416212).jpg
Member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors
Assumed office
December 16, 2014
Appointed by Barack Obama
Preceded by Michael P. Meehan
16th United States Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
In office
August 2009 – 2012
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Christopher F. Egan
Succeeded by Daniel Yohannes
Personal details
Political party Democratic
Alma mater Bryn Mawr College
Harvard University

Karen Kornbluh (born 1963) is Executive Vice President of External Affairs at Nielsen, Senior Fellow for Digital Policy at the Council on Foreign Relations[1] and a presidentially-appointed member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors.[2] She was previously an American government official, and expert on communications policy, international trade and issues affecting working families. Her profile in The New York Times focused on her efforts “Fighting for Economic Equality.”[3] A senior adviser to Barack Obama from the beginning of his Senate tenure throughout his 2008 presidential campaign, he appointed her in 2009 as the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD.[4]


Kornbluh attended Hunter College High School, earned a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.[5]


Early in her career, Kornbluh was a Telesis management consultant to Fortune 500 high-technology companies and an economist at Alan Greenspan's economic forecasting firm, Townsend-Greenspan & Co.[6] She worked for Senator John Kerry (D-MA) on the staff of the Commerce Committee and its Telecommunications Subcommittee.

From 1994 to 1997, she filled several roles at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), starting in November 1994 as Senior Policy Advisor in the Office of Plans and Policy, working on educational technology and children's television. She next served as Assistant Chief of the Commission's International Bureau, helping to negotiate the World Trade Organization Agreement on Basic Telecommunications and leading negotiations for the first satellite agreement between the United States and Mexico. She became Director of the FCC's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs in February 1997, while the agency was implementing key provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996. She completed her FCC service as Deputy Chief of the Mass Media Bureau. In that role, she handled digital television matters as well as a variety of other issues before the Bureau.[7] She went from the FCC to the Department of the Treasury, where she was deputy chief of staff, working on such issues as e-commerce and international trade.[8]

Kornbluh founded the Work and Family Program at the New America Foundation, having joined the think tank as a Markle Fellow.[9] She has argued for a modernized social insurance system that would better meet the needs of "juggler families", which are dependent on the incomes of both parents or that of a single parent.[10][11] Prominent conservative commentator David Brooks cited Kornbluh's piece on juggler families as one of the notable magazine articles that characterized 2006 as a "year of losing ground", or a time of pronounced anxiety in the United States.[12] Kornbluh has also published articles on economic policy in such periodicals as the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times and The Washington Post.[13] She is a senior fellow for digital policy at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Obama hired her as his policy director in 2004—a move that was seen as a sign of his determination to build an unusually strong staff for a freshman Senator.[14] A 2007 New York Sun article mentions Kornbluh as one of several former Clinton Administration officials who joined "the Obama camp", rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton's team, for the 2008 presidential election.[15] She was primary drafter of the 2008 Democratic platform.[16]

As U.S. Ambassador to the OECD, she worked with Secretary of State Clinton to spearhead development of the first global Internet Policymaking Principles,[17] launch the OECD Gender Initiative,[18] and expand anti-corruption efforts of the international economic standards organization.


In 2015 Kornbluh signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for; the letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation.[19]


In 1993, Kornbluh married lawyer James J. Halpert,[20] for whom the character Jim Halpert, on the television show The Office, is named.[21] They have two children.[13]


  1. ^ "Karen Kornbluh". Council on Foreign Relations. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  2. ^ "Ambassador Karen Kornbluh - BBG". BBG. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  3. ^ Clark, Nicola (2012-06-29). "Fighting for Economic Equality". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  4. ^ [1] Confirmations. Foreign Policy, August 7, 2009. Accessed 8/8/09.
  5. ^ [2] Markle Foundation
  6. ^ [3] FCC
  7. ^ [4] FCC
  8. ^ [5] Markle Foundation
  9. ^ [6] Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
  10. ^ [7] Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
  11. ^ Obama, Barack. The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, Crown, 2006, p. 336. ISBN 0-307-23769-9.
  12. ^ Brooks, David. This Age Of Anxiety, The New York Times, December 17, 2006.
  13. ^ http://www.tpmcafe.com/user/kkornbluh TPM Cafe Bio
  14. ^ [8] Great Expectations
  15. ^ Gerstein, Josh. [9] Hillary Sees Bill's Allies Fall Away. New York Sun, 1/19/07. Accessed 1/19/07.
  16. ^ Fantz, Ashley. [10] Getting inside Obama's 'brain'. CNN, November 13, 2008. Accessed 11/18/08
  17. ^ "Agreement Reached on Internet Policymaking Principles". whitehouse.gov. 2011-07-01. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  18. ^ "New Report on Womens Economic Empowerment Launched at OECD Ministerial | USCIB". USCIB. 2012-05-22. Retrieved 2016-05-19. 
  19. ^ Tracy McVeigh. "Poverty is sexist: leading women sign up for global equality | Life and style". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  20. ^ New York Times Weddings [11]. Accessed January 28, 2007.
  21. ^ Washington Post [12] Accessed December 6, 2008.

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