Johnny Young


The third African American diplomat to be named ambassador by three presidents, Johnny Young served the United States State Department as a career diplomat for over 37 years. Not one for nine-to-fives, Mr. Young worked in Sierra Leone in the early days of its civil war, and played an important role in “Operation Sharp Edge” a support and evacuation mission. He was also integral in the successful evacuation of 2,400 persons from Liberia through Sierra Leone, including U.S. citizens and 43 other nationalities during the 1992 government coup in Freetown. This work led to the young ambassador’s team being given the Superior Group Award from the State Department.

While in Slovenia from 2001-04, Mr. Young strongly supported the Slovene government’s successful bid to join The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Born in Savannah, Georgia, but raised in Philadelphia, Mr. Young attended Temple University at night for eight and a half years and graduated cum laude with a major in accounting and a minor in Spanish. While attending Temple, he worked as an accountant for the City of Philadelphia. His language skills served him well when it came time to travel the world with the Foreign Service, a highly selective arm of the State Department that carries out U.S. foreign policy abroad. As a rookie diplomat in 1967, Mr. Young received his first assignment to Madagascar as the Budget and Fiscal officer. He went on to work in Guinea, Kenya, Qatar, Barbados, Washington, D.C., Jordan, and the Netherlands before reaching the ambassador level. Young retired from the Foreign Service in 2004 with the rank of Career Ambassador. Since leaving the Foreign Service, Mr. Young has lived with his wife Angelena and their family in Maryland. Up until 2015, he worked as the Executive Director of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Migration and Refugee Services. Outside of the office, Mr. Young has been on the boards or committees of several organizations, including the Council on International Educational Exchange, the Marlow Guitar International, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, and the American Bahrain Friendship Society. He also teaches ESL and Citizenship.

Temple University Degree
Bachelor of Science, cum laude, ’66, Fox School of Business