Donna Welton has been a diplomat for over 25 years, holding key positions in strategic communications and political affairs at U.S. embassies and consulates around the world. She arrived in Kabul in August 2019 following three years as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. embassy in Helsinki, Finland, serving for over 18 months as Chargé d’affaires. Prior to Finland she held a temporary assignment at the Department of Defense as the acting Director for Southeast Asia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy). Ms. Welton began her career with the United States Information Agency in 1984 and did three tours in Asian posts before returning to graduate school in 1992. After completing coursework for a doctorate in Princeton’s Asian Art and Archaeology Department, she worked as a curator of Japanese art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as an exhibitions curator at the American Federation of Arts in New York. Ms. Welton then returned to the Foreign Service with the Department of State in 2000, serving in public diplomacy positions in Tokyo, Nagoya, Washington, and Jakarta, and as Consul General in Sapporo, Japan. After finishing a master’s degree in Strategic Studies at the Army War College she was assigned as Counselor for Public Affairs in Kabul, followed by a year at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations as Deputy Director of Communications and Public Affairs. Ms. Welton returned to Japan as Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs in June 2013, serving until August 2015. She speaks Japanese fluently, and has studied Korean, Indonesian, German, some Dari, and Finnish. Ms. Welton grew up in rural upstate New York and enjoys the outdoors, photography, and cooking.