Dr. S. Ken Yamashita
Term of Appointment: June 2013 to present
Dr. S. Ken Yamashita was appointed Director, Program Coordination of the U.S. Embassy/ Kabul on June 10, 2013. In this capacity, he provides policy guidance and program oversight to 17 independent U.S. Agencies and State Department Sections. A Senior Executive Foreign Service Officer with a rank of Career Minister, Dr. Yamashita has served for more than 20 years in both overseas and Washington, D.C. assignments.
From June 2011 to June 2013, Dr. Yamashita was Mission Director of USAID/Afghanistan, where he was responsible for the U.S. Government’s development assistance program to Afghanistan. With more than $16 billion provided for development programs since 2002, the program represents USAID’s largest assistance program in the world. The portfolio aims to improve governance and economic sustainability; increase access to health and education; and, improve the status of women.
Before his assignment to Afghanistan, Dr. Yamashita served as the Mission Director for USAID in Colombia. In Colombia he managed a $200 million a year portfolio aimed at developing alternatives to illicit crops production, re-establishing government presence in remote areas of the country, assisting vulnerable populations, and preventing human rights violations.
Prior to that, Dr. Yamashita served as Acting Assistant Administrator for the Bureau for Europe and Eurasia (E&E), where he directed a $650 million annual budget that supported economic growth and fiscal reform, democracy-building, and social transition in the 15 European and Eurasian countries receiving U.S. foreign assistance.
Dr. Yamashita’s other USAID assignments include Senior Deputy Assistant Administrator for the E&E Bureau; Director of the Office of Health for USAID/Ecuador; Chief of the Health Policy Division, Global Center for Health, Population and Nutrition, USAID/Washington; Director of the Office of Health, USAID/South Africa; Deputy Mission Director of USAID/Peru and USAID Mission Director for Kosovo. From 2006-2008, Dr. Yamashita was simultaneously the Director of Office of HIV/AIDS within USAID’s Bureau for Global Health and the USG Special Advisor for Orphans and Vulnerable Children, an appointment designated by the USAID Administrator through delegated authority of the U.S. Secretary of State.
Before joining USAID, Dr. Yamashita worked for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Futures Group, and the United Nations.
A native of Kobe, Japan, Dr. Yamashita received a B.A. in environmental engineering from the Johns Hopkins University in 1975, and a Ph.D. with a concentration of population and development economics from the Johns Hopkins University School of Hygiene and Public Health in 1980. He has received numerous awards and citations for his contributions to development, including the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award in 2009 and a Distinguished Honor Award in 2012.
Dr. Yamashita is married and has two children.