Kenton Keith (diplomat)

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Kenton Wesley Keith (born November 12, 1939)[1] is a former American career diplomat and ambassador to Qatar from 1992 to 1995.[2] A U.S. Navy veteran, Keith also served as Senior Vice president of programming for the American Academy of Diplomacy. Ambassador Keith has been awarded two presidential service awards and is a Chevalier in the French Order of Arts and Letters.

Personal life[edit]

Keith was born on November 12, 1939, in Kansas City, Missouri. His mother, Gertrude Keith, was a civil servant and one of the first African-American women to attend college in the United States. His father, Jimmy Keith, was a Jazz saxophonist and a legend on the Kansas City jazz scene.[3] Keith attended the racially segregated Lincoln High School in Kansas City and was later a student at The University of Kansas where he earned a degree in International Relation and French in 1961. During his time there Keith also completed the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps program, which later led to a career as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy. In June 1963, Keith married Brenda Ayo. Keith and Ayo had two children a son, Vincent, and a daughter, Pamela.

Keith is a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He is a member of the fraternity's World Policy Council, a think tank whose purpose is to expand Alpha Phi Alpha's involvement in politics and social and current policy to encompass international concerns.[4]


  1. ^ The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Foreign Affairs Oral History Project: AMBASSADOR KENTON W. KEITH
  2. ^ "Kenton Keith - The American Academy of Diplomacy". The American Academy of Diplomacy. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  3. ^ "Jimmy Keith | Biography & History | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 2017-11-07.
  4. ^ Dawson, Horace; Edward Brooke; Henry Ponder; Vinton R. Anderson; Bobby William Austin; Ron Dellums; Kenton Keith; Huel D. Perkins; Charles Rangel; Clathan McClain Ross; Cornel West (July 2006). "The Centenary Report Of The Alpha Phi Alpha World Policy Council" (PDF). Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-25. Retrieved 2011-05-23. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Mark Gregory Hambley
U.S. Ambassador to Qatar
Succeeded by
Patrick N. Theros