Michael McKinley

Ambassador P. Michael McKinley (Ret.) joined The Cohen Group as a Senior Counselor after a decorated 37-year career at the Department of State as one of the country’s most experienced and respected diplomats. Ambassador McKinley most recently served as Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State until October 2019, covering a wide range of global policy issues.

Over the course of his career in the US Foreign Service, Ambassador McKinley held senior leadership positions in missions in Latin America, Europe, Africa, and Afghanistan. As a four-time Ambassador, he led some of the largest and most sensitive US embassies in the world as the US Ambassador to Peru (2007-2010), Colombia (2010-2013), Afghanistan (2014-2016), and Brazil (2017-2018). Ambassador McKinley helped conclude free trade agreements with Peru and Colombia, and the Open Skies Agreement and the revival of the Defense Industry Dialogue with Brazil. Ambassador McKinley has also had extensive experience with regional conflicts and peace negotiations across three decades on three continents, to include most recently as Ambassador in Colombia and Afghanistan where he played a central role in shaping key policy decisions.

Ambassador McKinley joined the US Foreign Service in 1982. Earlier assignments included Bolivia, the United Kingdom, Mozambique, Uganda, and Belgium in addition to positions at the State Department in Washington. Across these postings, he worked on conflicts in Central America, Southern Africa, and East Africa. As Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires at the US Mission to the European Union from 2004-2007, Ambassador McKinley helped conclude the EU-US accord on transatlantic air travel security and supported the expansion of cooperation on economic and regulatory issues affecting US trade and investment. As Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Population, Migration, and Refugees from 2001-2004 in the aftermath of 9/11, Ambassador McKinley oversaw policy and programming for almost $700 million in annual USG assistance to the refugee resettlement program in the United States and to refugee populations in Africa, Europe, and Latin America.

Ambassador McKinley graduated from the University of Southampton in 1975 and earned a PhD from Oxford University in 1982. His book on colonial Venezuelan history is an acclaimed study of the period, and has been published in both English by Cambridge University Press and in Spanish. Raised in Venezuela, Brazil, Mexico, Spain, and the United States, Ambassador McKinley speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French.