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Hostage Diplomacy and Politics | WACT Speaker Series

  • Tuesday, October 25, 2022
  • 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM
  • Zoom (RSVP for link)

Registration is closed


A World Affairs Council Speaker Series event


Director of American Citizen Services

U.S. Department of State

Hostage diplomacy, the taking of hostages under the guise of law for use as foreign policy leverage, is on the rise globally. Countries around the world—China, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Venezuela—are repeat offenders, and Western hostages are often the targets. We’ll hear from Kimberly R. Furnish, Director of American Citizen Services at the U.S. Department of State, on this disturbing geopolitical trend, and what might be done to mitigate it.


Kim Furnish is a career Foreign Service Officer currently serving as the Department of State’s Director of American Citizen Services.  Kim’s prior tour was as the International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Attaché at the United States Consulate General in Karachi, Pakistan. Previously she also served as Chief of American Citizen Services at Embassy Seoul, which has a consular district of more than 200,000 U.S. citizens. In Seoul, Kim served as the lead on Noncombatant Evacuation Operation issues. In 2018, Kim had the responsibility of running the U.S. Embassy team which provided services to U.S. citizens who visited Korea for the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics. She also served as the head Embassy control officer to Vice President Mike Pence in his role as the chief official to the U.S. Government’s Official Delegation to the Opening Ceremonies.  Kim’s other previous tours include Melbourne, Seoul, Bogota, Curacao and in the Department in the Bureau of Consular Affairs and the Bureau of African Affairs. Kim was a runner-up for the Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence in both 2018 and 2019.  Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Kim worked in corporate fundraising. Kim earned a bachelor’s degree from Tulane University in her hometown of New Orleans, Louisiana and she speaks Spanish, French, and Dutch.

Event will be hosted online via Zoom 

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