Public Diplomacy Fellow, 2017-2018
Robert Ogburn has held the title of Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul since September 2014. He joined the U.S. Foreign Service in 1987 and has served in Iraq, Korea, Vietnam, Washington and Egypt.
Prior to Seoul, Robert was Deputy Consul General at the U.S. Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City from 2011-2014. In 2009-2010, Robert was the State Department’s senior advisor for rule of law at the US Embassy in Baghdad, where he focused on inter-agency and provincial coordination of the Mission’s rule of law efforts. Robert has held five previous jobs in Korea, including Spokesman and Counselor for Public Affairs.
Robert was also press and cultural attaché in Ho Chi Minh City (2001-2005); briefing coordinator and Middle East/South Asia program officer for the Foreign Press Center in Washington, D.C.; and Deputy Embassy Spokesman in Cairo. In addition to serving in Iraq, he considers his career highlights to be re-opening the USG’s diplomatic post in Busan, Korea in 2007; running White House Press Filing Centers during Presidential visits to various countries; and, from 2001-5 bringing some of the first cultural and performing arts programs to southern Vietnam since the end of the War. In Seoul he has been the chairman of one of the world’s largest binational Fulbright Commissions, and he also introduced the State Department’s first-ever FabLab Fellow and other innovative sports and cultural diplomacy programs.
Robert has an MA in East Asian Studies from the George Washington University (’85) and an MBA from Johns Hopkins University (’04). Raised in Anne Arundel and Prince George’s Counties MD, he graduated with honors from the University of Maryland Baltimore County’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program (’82). Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Robert worked in broadcasting, investment banking, and law enforcement. Robert was adopted from Korea to American parents and is married to Thu-hang Ogburn (CCAS ’83); they have two children, Calvin (CCAS ’12) and Calista (high school senior).