Ambassador David T. Killion, Chief of Staff at the U.S. Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission), was jointly appointed on April 10, 2014, by the then-Chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission U.S. Senator Ben Cardin and Ranking Member Senator Roger Wicker.
A seasoned diplomat as well as a Capitol Hill veteran, Killion most recently served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) from 2009-2013. As Ambassador he administered a multi-agency, multi-million dollar U.S. Mission, worked to better align UNESCO programs and activities with U.S. strategic interests, and managed complex political and diplomatic challenges. In particular, Killion promoted U.S. goals in the areas of freedom of expression and science diplomacy, advancing opportunities for girls’ education and defending internet freedom. He also was credited with fostering relationships with civil society and the private sector as key partners in achieving U.S. objectives at UNESCO.
From 2001 until 2009, Killion served as a Senior Professional Staff Member for the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs. Killion was the Committee’s expert on State Department Operations, International Organizations, and International Education. While there, he managed the State Department Authorization bill for Committee Chairman Howard Berman (D-Calif.) and coordinated Committee initiatives to improve management at the United Nations and implement reforms to UN human rights mechanisms. Killion also worked on enacted legislation such as the Global Anti-Semitism Review Act of 2004 which created a Department of State Special Envoy to Combat anti-Semitism. He also helped draft and shepherd through the House H.R. 1469, the Senator Paul Simon Study Abroad Foundation Act, which was designed to increase the number of American college students studying abroad. In 2009, in recognition of this work, NAFSA, the Association of International Educators awarded Killion its Congressional Staff Champion Award “for his commitment to advancing international education.”
Prior to serving on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Killion served as a Senior Legislative Management Officer in the Department of State’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs (1996-2001) under the Clinton administration. His areas of responsibility managing congressional relations included human rights, democracy, war crimes, women’s issues, oceans, and environment and science. From 1994 to 1996, he served as a legislative assistant to Congressman David Skaggs (D-Colo.).
Ambassador Killion holds a BA from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., and an MA from the University of California at Los Angeles.