John N. Nkengasong is the Ambassador-at-Large and Coordinator of United States Government Activities to Combat HIV/AIDS Globally at the Department of State. The Ambassador-at-Large leads, manages, and oversees the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR).
Dr. Nkengasong is currently the Director of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (Africa CDC). Previously, Dr. Nkengasong served as the Acting Deputy Director for the Center for Global Health at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC), and as the Chief of the International Laboratory Branch in the Division of Global HIV/AIDS and Tuberculosis at the CDC. Dr. Nkengasong previously served as a Co-Chair of PEPFAR’s Laboratory Technical Working Group. He was appointed as one of the World Health Organization Director General’s Special Envoys for COVID-19 in 2020 and serves as a board member for the International AIDS Vaccine Initiative (IAVI), and the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovation (CEPI).
Statements on development, diplomacy, and U.S. global leadership:
On U.S. Global Leadership: “We live in a global world. Any support for Africa is support for America. The world has always been in a better place when America has exercised leadership. We, as a continent, are extremely appreciative of the past commitments and support we have received from the United States government and the United States’ people.” (source)
On PEPFAR: “PEPFAR has proven remarkably resilient in protecting and advancing hard-fought HIV gains as well as creating the backbone to fight other health threats, including COVID-19. I know all this to be true, as I have lived it and seen it firsthand – the positive impact it has had on people around the globe.” (source)
On the COVID-19 Pandemic: “We have seen how an outbreak of a disease can truly be a health security matter, and also human security, as well as even going as far as a national security threat.”(source)
On Vaccination: “In a sense, you could say we are at war with the pandemic. And if we are at war, we need to use everything we have. Africa has the capacity and the ability to vaccinate…It starts by mobilizing enough financial resources to make manufacturing happen on the continent, which is an uphill climb.” (source)
On Bipartisan Congressional Leadership: “I would assume leadership of an unprecedented initiative with a long history of strong, unwavering bipartisan Congressional leadership and support and a proven track record of global life-saving work.” (source)