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Ambassador Laura S.H. Holgate

Laura S.H. Holgate serves as U.S. Ambassador to the Vienna Office of the United Nations and to the International Atomic Energy Agency, advancing multilateral approaches to reduce global threats and seize opportunities in the areas of nuclear nonproliferation, nuclear security, verification of the Iran nuclear deal, nuclear energy, nuclear testing, counterterrorism, anti-corruption, drug policy, cybercrime, and export control. She previously held the position from July 2016 to January 2017.

From 2018 to 2021, Ambassador Holgate was vice president for materials risk management at the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), responsible for designing and executing NTI’s activities to prevent nuclear terrorism, such as reducing quantities and enhancing security of nuclear and radiological materials around the world, promoting cooperation between the United States and key partners on nuclear and radiological security, and strengthening the global nuclear security architecture.

Ambassador Holgate co-led the creation of Gender Champions in Nuclear Policy, launched in November 2018, to increase the presence, visibility and impact of women in nonproliferation, nuclear deterrence, nuclear security, disarmament, nuclear energy and related areas. During her previous ambassadorial posting, she promoted gender balance in the staff and programming of the Vienna-based international organizations, laying the groundwork for the creation of the Vienna chapter of the International Gender Champions, and is proud to have joined this chapter in March 2022.

Ambassador Holgate served as the special assistant to the president and senior director for weapons of mass destruction terrorism and threat reduction on the U.S. National Security Council from 2009 to 2016. In this role, she oversaw and coordinated the development of national policies and programs to reduce global threats from nuclear, biological and chemical weapons; detect, identify, secure and eliminate nuclear materials; prevent malicious use of biotechnology; and secure the civilian nuclear fuel cycle. She was the U.S. Sherpa to the Nuclear Security Summits and co-led the effort to advance the President’s Global Health Security Agenda.

Holgate was a founding Vice President of NTI, leading its Russia/New Independent States programs from 2001 to 2009. Prior to that, she directed the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Fissile Materials Disposition from 1998 to 2001, and was special coordinator for cooperative threat reduction at the Department for Defense from 1995 through 1998, where she provided policy oversight of the “Nunn-Lugar” Cooperative Threat Reduction program.

Holgate received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in politics from Princeton University and a Master of Science Degree in political science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and spent two years on the research staff at Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government. Holgate is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.