Karen Knudsen

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Director, Office of External Affairs
KnudsenK [at] EastWestCenter.org
Phone: 
808.944.7195
Fax: 
808.944.7376
Education: 
MA in Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawaii.
Area of Expertise: 

Public Diplomacy/Public Affairs
International Public Engagement

Ms. Knudsen directs the Center’s public engagement and public affairs activities; briefings/roundtables for government officials and military (local, national and international); community and public relations, and oversees the Center’s arts and cultural outreach program. She is a Vice President of the East-West Center Foundation and also serves as the Center’s military liaison and contact/specialist on Burma/Myanmar.

Previously, concurrent with her position at the East-West Center, Ms. Knudsen recently completed 20 years of setting statewide K-12 education policy as an elected member of the Hawaii State Board of Education. She formerly 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.

Ms. Knudsen has served on numerous community boards and is currently a member of Chaminade University’s Board of Regents, chair of PBS Hawaii’s Community Advisory Committee, and a director and executive committee member of the Japan-America Society of Hawaii. From 2013 to 2016 she was a founding member and former corporate secretary for the Suu Foundation, a non-profit entity established to provide education and training support in Myanmar/Burma.

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