Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, Ph.D.
Global Fellow for Health Security
Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins joined Purdue University as Global Fellow for Health Security in January 2018, where she is contributing to enhancing Purdue’s participation in sponsored research and engagement activities related to global health security. She will initially dedicate her efforts to the team developing support for Purdue’s participation in the Jordan University of Science and Technology/Purdue University Regional Institute for Infectious Disease and Antimicrobial Resistance. In addition to Corporate and Global Partnerships, Dr. Jenkins will also engage with the Purdue’s Institutes for Inflammation, Immunology, and Infectious Disease (PI4D) as well for Global Security and Defense (iGSDI) on this and other initiatives.
Ambassador Jenkins has had an illustrious career as a U.S. diplomat, policymaker, academic, and attorney. She served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador, Special Envoy and Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs for the Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, overseeing U.S. government programs in chemical, biological, nuclear and radiological security (CBRN) from 2009 to 2017. In this role, Ambassador Jenkins was deeply engaged in the Global Health Security Agenda (GHSA), a multi-sectoral initiative dedicated to reducing infectious disease threats around the world. She worked closely with domestic and international partners in the biosecurity, animal and human health, development, and law enforcement sectors, including the World Health Organization (WHO), the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). She also led U.S. government outreach efforts to domestic and international non-governmental organizations involved in CBRN security and infectious disease prevention.
Prior to her appointment as Ambassador, Ms. Jenkins served as the Program Officer for U.S. Foreign and Security policy at the Ford Foundation. Her responsibilities included strengthening public engagement in U.S. foreign and security policy formulation and debates as well as funding programs and international engagements in the areas of peacekeeping, women in conflict, and natural resource conflicts. Before joining the Foundation, Ambassador Jenkins served as counsel on the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks upon the United States, more commonly known as the “9-11 Commission.” She was the lead Commission staff member on counterterrorism policy in the Office of the Secretary of Defense and on U.S. military plans targeting al Qaeda prior to 9-11.
Ambassador Jenkins also served as General Counsel to the U.S. Commission to Assess the Organization of the Federal Government to combat proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and as a consultant to the 2000 National Commission on Terrorism. Additionally she was a fellow at the RAND Corporation in their National Security Division. A retired Naval Reserve officer, she completed a year-long deployment to U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM). She has received numerous awards in her time as an officer in the U.S. Naval Reserves.
Ambassador Jenkins served as legal advisor in the Office of General Council at the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency (ACDA). She provided legal advice to U.S. Ambassadors and delegations negotiating arms control and nonproliferation treaties. She has been a legal advisor on the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), the Chemical Weapons Convention, and the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty among others. She also served as U.S. legal advisor on relevant treaty implementing bodies, such as the CTBT Organization (CTBTO), and the OPCW. Ambassador Jenkins chaired the IAEA Nuclear Security Training and Support Center Network, was on the Scientific Committee of the Annual International Symposium on Biosecurity and Biosafety, and was a member of the Steering Committee of the Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity.
Dedicated to civic engagement, in 2017, Ambassador Jenkins founded Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security (WCAPS), a platform devoted to women of color that cultivates a strong voice and network for its members while encouraging dialogue and strategies for engaging in policy discussions on an international scale. Ambassador Jenkins was also the Department of State’s Leadership Liaison for the Veterans at State affinity group, and was a member of the Department’s Diversity Governance Council.
Ambassador Jenkins also has vast experience in academia and policy think tanks. Most recently at the University of Pennsylvania Perry World Center and The Brookings Institution where, in 2017, she conducted research and analysis on 21st Century challenges to weapons of mass destruction (WMD) arms control, nonproliferation and disarmament, WMD terrorism, and the prevention and detection of infectious disease. Ambassador Jenkins has been an adjunct professor at Georgetown University Law School and designed and implemented arms control and nonproliferation simulation courses at Stanford University. She was a fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. During her years at the Belfer Center, she worked at Harvard Law School in the Bernard Koteen Office of Public Interest Advising as an advisor to law students on legal jobs in the public sector. Ambassador Jenkins has a Ph.D. in International Relations from the University of Virginia; an LL.M. in International and Comparative Law from the Georgetown University Law Center; an M.P.A. from the State University of New York at Albany; a J.D. from Albany Law School; and a B.A. from Amherst College. She also attended The Hague Academy for International Law.