Diplomat in Residence

Elizabeth McKay was the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and formerly the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Mission in South Africa until July 2018.  She was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and the U.S. Consulates in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban. As the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, Elizabeth directed public diplomacy outreach, programmatic initiatives, and thoughtful dialogue with an audience of 57 million South Africans.

Elizabeth’s overseas public diplomacy assignments have included Rome, Ankara, Vientiane, San Jose, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Calcutta. She also served in Washington, D.C. as the Director of Public Diplomacy for the State Department’s Bureau of Europe and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). In that position, she oversaw EUR’s Public Diplomacy operations for 50 diplomatic missions in Europe (2009-2012). Elizabeth also served as the Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for Mexico (2000-2002) and subsequently as Deputy Director for INL’s Office of Africa, Asia and Europe (2003-2005). She is married to retired Foreign Service Officer Robert McKay. They have two children.

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The Public Diplomacy program and the Center on Public Diplomacy are fortunate to host a diplomat in residence each year. The diplomat is a serving officer in the Senior Foreign Service on assignment from the Department of State with special experience of public diplomacy. The diplomat in residence co-teaches in the fall and typically offers a specialized class in their own area in the spring.