Karen Knudsen

Director, Office of External Affairs
KnudsenK [at] EastWestCenter.org
MA in Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaii.
Area of Expertise: 

Public Diplomacy

Ms. Knudsen has worked in politics, public diplomacy, public affairs and communications in a multi-ethnic and international environment. She travels widely throughout the Asia-Pacific region for her work.

Ms. Knudsen directs the Center's public engagement and public affairs activities: arts/cultural outreach program; briefings for government officials and military (local, national and international); and community and public relations. She also serves as the East-West Center's military liaison and lead contact/specialist on Burma/Myanmar.

Concurrent with her position at the East-West Center, Ms. Knudsen recently completed 20 years of service setting statewide education policy as an elected member of the Hawaii State Board of Education. Previously Ms. Knudsen served as Pacific-area specialist with the Pacific and Asian Affairs Council; as outreach coordinator for the University of Hawaii’s Center for Pacific Islands Studies; in Public Affairs at the Hawaii State Judiciary and as public relations executive for a major advertising agency, Milici Valenti DDB Needham. She is also a former Peace Corps Volunteer in Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia.

She has served on numerous community boards - currently serving as Chair of PBS-Hawaii’s Community Advisory Board, as a member of Chaminade University Board of Regents and as a Director of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii.

Ms. Knudsen holds a Master’s degree in Pacific Islands Studies from the University of Hawaii.