Ambassador Jimmy Kolker retired in January 2017 as Assistant Secretary for Global Affairs at the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). In this role, Kolker was the Department’s chief health diplomat, representing the United States at World Health Organization meetings and as alternate Board Member of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria.
Ambassador Kolker had a 30-year diplomatic career with the US Department of State where he served as the US Ambassador to Burkina Faso (1999-2002) and to Uganda (2002-2005). From 2005-2007, he was Deputy Global AIDS Coordinator in the Office of the US Global AIDS Coordinator, leading the implementation of the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR). Ambassador Kolker was Deputy Chief of Mission at US embassies in Denmark and Botswana and won awards for political reporting at earlier posts in the UK, Sweden, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique.
From 2007-2011, Ambassador Kolker was Chief of the AIDS Section at UNICEF’s New York headquarters. During this time, he led UNICEF's work on HIV and AIDS, focusing on mother-to-child-transmission of HIV, pediatric treatment, prevention among adolescents and young people, and protection for children and families affected by AIDS.
Ambassador Kolker holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. magna cum laude from Carleton College in Minnesota. He was a Thomas J. Watson Foundation Fellow (1970-1971). He speaks French, Swedish, and Portuguese.