After graduating from Vassar College (B.A.) and American University (M.A.), Laura E. Kennedy joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1975. Her domestic assignments include the Offices of People’s Republic of China Affairs, Soviet Affairs, Jordan/Syria/Lebanon/Palestinian Affairs (Deputy Director), and Central Eurasian Affairs (Director). She also spent a sabbatical year at Stanford University and graduated from the Senior Seminar of the Department of State. Abroad, she was detailed to an official US-USSR exchange exhibit in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Tajikistan. She served at U.S. Embassies in Moscow (twice) Ankara, Yerevan (Chargé d’Affaires), and Ashgabat and at U.S. Missions to international organizations in Vienna (Deputy Permanent Representative) and Geneva. She was appointed by President George W. Bush as Ambassador to Turkmenistan (2001-2003).
Upon her return to the U.S., she served as the Dean of the last class of the Senior Seminar. She subsequently served under Secretary of State Colin Powell as a Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs with responsibility for southern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia. She taught at the National War College 2007-9 and also served as Deputy Commandant. President Obama appointed her U.S. Permanent Representative (2010-2013) to the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva. She also served concurrently in Geneva as the U.S. Special Representative for Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) Issues.
Ambassador Kennedy was given the Secretary’s Career Achievement Award upon her retirement in 2013. She has been retained as a consultant on international security affairs, lectured, and helped write new guidelines on Chiefs of Mission for the American Foreign Service Association. She serves on the board of the Senior Seminar Alumni Association.
Kennedy was recalled to active service in May 2014 by the Director General to serve as Chargé d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Turkmenistan until September 2014. She was then asked to take a similar position at the U. S. Mission to the United Nations in Vienna with concurrent service as the Acting Governor to the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency which she began on September 15, 2014.
Ambassador Kennedy is married to retired U.S. diplomat, John Feeney, and has two sons, Martin and Patrick Feeney.