World Affairs Council of Hilton Head

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  • Evening Speaker Series: Katherine Canavan

Evening Speaker Series: Katherine Canavan

  • 05 Mar 2018
  • 6:00 PM - 7:15 PM
  • 70 Skull Creek Drive Hilton Head Plantation


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Monday, March 5, 2018:
Immigration, American Citizenship and Their Relationship to National Security

Katherine Hubay Peterson Canavan was a Foreign Service Officer with the Department of State for more than 35 years.  She retired after a distinguished career in November 2011, with the rank of Career Minister, the second highest in the Foreign Service.

Since then, Ms. Canavan has served as a subject matter expert, role player and presenter in support of various military exercises and courses which involve interaction with the Department of State, U.S. Embassies, the Interagency, International Organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations.  She serves on the Board of the American Academy of Diplomacy and the Board of Trustees of the Una Chapman Cox Foundation.

Ms. Canavan entered the Foreign Service in 1976, after serving nearly three years as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.  In 1979, she transferred to Kingston, Jamaica, where she worked as an interviewing officer and then as Chief of the Non-Immigrant Visa section. From March 1985 to March 1987, Ms. Canavan was the Division Chief for Latin America in the Office of Overseas Citizen Services (OCS), where her division focused on non-emergency services to Americans, including citizenship determinations.  From 1996 to 1998, Ms. Canavan was the Managing Director of Overseas Citizen Services (OCS) in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, during which time OCS handled evacuations of private American citizens from 12 countries.

Ms. Canavan served as United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Lesotho from August 1998 to June 2001.  At the beginning of her tour, the country experienced a mutiny, a coup, an intervention by foreign troops, as well as burning and looting of the capital.  She orchestrated the successful evacuation of 75 Peace Corps Volunteers and several hundred private Americans as well as other expatriates.

From September 2005 to June 2008, she served as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana and simultaneously as the Secretary of State’s Special Representative to the Southern African Development Community.  In her last posting (August 2008 to August 2011), she served as the Civilian Deputy and Foreign Policy Advisor to ADM James G. Stavridis, the Commander of the United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.

Ms. Canavan has received two Presidential Rank Awards (2003 and 2007) as well as numerous other awards including Senior Performance Pay and Superior Honor Awards.  At the European Command, she received the Defense Civilian Distinguished Service Award and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

Ms. Canavan was born in Southern California and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz.  She is married to Lieutenant General Mike Canavan (US Army, retired).  They live in South Carolina.

World Affairs Council of Hilton Head

PO Box 22523
Hilton Head Island, SC 29925

843-384-6758  |

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