James K. Bishop
James K. Bishop was born in New Rochelle, NY on July 21, 1938. He received a B.S. in Social Science from the College of the Holy Cross in 1960 and a Masters in International Public Policy from Johns Hopkins University (SAIS) in 1981. Joining the U.S. Foreign Service in 1960, he was initially assigned as a press officer in the Department’s News Office. His first overseas tour was as Vice Consul Auckland, New Zealand (1963-66), followed assignments as Consul and Economic Officer in Beirut, Lebanon (1966-68) and Economic Officer in Yaounde, Cameroun (1968-70).
Returning to Washington, Bishop was named Desk Officer for Chad, Gabon, Mauritius and Madagascar (1970-72) and then Desk Officer for Ghana and Togo (1972-74) . His next posting was a Deputy Director for West African Affairs (1974-76). He was selected to attend the Senior Seninar for the academic year (1976-77) and after completion of the course was named Director for North African Affairs. He was appointed Ambassador to Niger in 1979 and asked to return to Washington two years later to serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for African Affairs (1971-77). In April 1987, he began a three year assignment as Ambassador to Liberia. In September 1990 he arrived in Mogadishu as U.S. Ambassador to Somalia, departing the post four months later when staff still at the post were evacuated by USMC heliocopters to the carrier Guam. His final Foreign Service assignment was as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Human Rights and Humanitarian Affairs (1991-1993).
Following his retirement Bishop worked for USAID as a member of a Task Force on Southern Africa for a year and was then hired as the Vice President of the Congressional Human Rights Foundation. In 1985, he joined the NGO coalition InterAction as Vice President for Humanitarian Policy and Practice and remained with the coalition for fifteen years, leaving to attend to illness in his family. He subsequently was employed as a consultant by Booz Allen Hamilton and then returned to the State Department in a WAE capacity.
Bishop received several awards from the State Department including its Distinguished Service award for his performance in Liberia and the Wilbur J. Carr Award for his Humanitarian services. He was a member of the International Peace and Justice Commission of the U.S. Catholics Bishops Conference for six years after his retirement from the State Department. He currently is a member of the Board of Directors of DARA, USA as well as a member of the American Foreign Service Association. His wife of 34 years, Kathleen Marie Bishop, died in 2011. They had six children. Bishop speaks French.