Log In

Karen Kornbluh Edit Profile


Karen Kornbluh, United States ambassador to the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development.


Kornbluh, Karen was born in 1963.


Kornbluh attended Hunter College High School, earned a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and a Master of Public Policy degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.


She was previously an American government official, and expert on communications policy, international trade and issues affecting working families. A senior adviser to Barack Obama from the beginning of his Senate tenure throughout his 2008 presidential campaign, she has been called "Obama's brain". Obama appointed her as the U.S. Ambassador to the OECD. \r\nEarly in her career, Kornbluh was a Telesis management consultant to Fortune 500 high-technology companies and an economist at Alan Greenspan's economic forecasting firm, Townsend-Greenspan & Co.

She worked for Senator John Kerry (D-MA) on the staff of the Commerce Committee and its Telecommunications Subcommittee. She next served as Assistant Chief of the Commission's International Bureau, helping to negotiate the World Trade Organization Agreement on Basic Telecommunications and leading negotiations for the first satellite agreement between the United States and Mexico. She became Director of the FCC's Office of Legislative and Intergovernmental Affairs in February 1997, while the agency was implementing key provisions of the Telecommunications Act of 1996.

She completed her FCC service as Deputy Chief of the Mass Media Bureau. In that role, she handled digital television matters as well as a variety of other issues before the Bureau. She went from the FCC to the Department of the Treasury, where she was deputy chief of staff to Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin, working on such issues as e-commerce and international trade.

Kornbluh founded the Work and Family Program at the New America Foundation, having joined the think tank as a Markle Fellow. She has argued for a modernized social insurance system that would better meet the needs of "juggler families", which are dependent on the incomes of both parents or that of a single parent. Prominent conservative commentator David Brooks cited Kornbluh's piece on juggler families as one of the notable magazine articles that characterized 2006 as a "year of losing ground", or a time of pronounced anxiety in the United States.

Kornbluh has also published articles on economic policy in such periodicals as the Atlantic Monthly, New York Times and The Washington Post. She is a senior fellow for digital policy at the Council on Foreign Relations. Obama hired her as his policy director in 2004—a move that was seen as a sign of his determination to build an unusually strong staff for a freshman Senator.

A 2007 New York Sun article mentions Kornbluh as one of several former Clinton Administration officials who joined "the Obama camp", rather than Hillary Rodham Clinton's team, for the 2008 presidential election. She was primary drafter of the 2008 Democratic platform. In 2015 Kornbluh signed an open letter which the ONE Campaign had been collecting signatures for.

The letter was addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they serve as the head of the G7 in Germany and the AU in South Africa respectively, which will start to set the priorities in development funding before a main UN summit in September 2015 that will establish new development goals for the generation. In 1993, Kornbluh married lawyer James J. Halpert, for whom the character Jim Halpert, on the television show The Office, is named. They have two children.


Married James J. Halpert, 1993.

James J. Halpert