Robert Ogburn

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Robert Ogburn

Former Visiting Scholar and Visiting State Department Public Diplomacy Fellow

Robert Ogburn is the former minister-counselor for public affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Seoul and was appointed as the GW Visiting State Department Public Diplomacy Fellow for the 2017–18 academic year. 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 U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, where he focused on inter-agency and provincial coordination of the mission’s rule of law efforts. Robert 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 from 2001 to 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 U.S. diplomatic post in Busan, Korea in 2007; running White House press filing centers during presidential visits to various countries; and, from 2001 to 2005, bringing some of the first cultural and performing arts programs to southern Vietnam since the end of the war.

In Seoul, he was the chairman of one of the world’s largest bi-national Fulbright Commissions and also introduced the State Department’s first-ever FabLab Fellow and other innovative sports and cultural diplomacy programs.

Robert has an M.A. 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 in Maryland, 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, a high school senior.

M.A., East Asian Studies, The George Washington University

MBA, Johns Hopkins University

B.A., Interdisciplinary Studies, University of Maryland Baltimore County