Ambassador Kathleen Stephens, the Koret Fellow at the Walter H. Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center in the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, has been named the United States’ chargé d’affaires to India. Stephens was asked to step in to replace retiring Ambassador Nancy Powell at a critical moment, with the formation of a new government in India following the sweeping election victory of the Bharatiya Janata Party led by Narendra Modi.
Stephens will assume the position in June and remain until a new ambassador is nominated and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, the State Department said in a press briefing.
“I look forward to being in India during a momentous and promising time, and to working to deepen the relationship between the United States and India. My time at Stanford allowed me to engage with extraordinary colleagues and students at APARC and beyond, and will stand me in good stead as I take on new challenges in India,” Stephens said.
Stephens served as acting under secretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in 2012. She was the U.S. ambassador to South Korea from 2008 to 2011, and principal deputy assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs between 2005 and 2007. Her connection to Asia began in the 1970s when she was a Peace Corps volunteer in South Korea.
She has been in residence at Shorenstein APARC for the academic year, conducting research and participating in projects related to U.S.-Korea relations and greater Asia. Stephens also taught a course for Stanford students while here.
Shorenstein APARC Director Gi-Wook Shin said Stephens’ appointment reinforces the Center’s tradition of scholarship and promotion of bipartisan interaction with governments.
“We’re delighted by the news of Kathy’s appointment. Her long-standing ties with Asia and foreign affairs experience will serve her well in this important position. Kathy’s presence greatly enhanced our Center’s work and research agenda, and we wish her well as she heads to India,” Shin said.