Church News - The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Washington, D.C. member nominated as ambassador

Published: Saturday, Oct. 17, 2009

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Robert R. King of the McLean 2nd Ward of the McLean Virginia Stake has been nominated by President Barack Obama to be Special Envoy for North Korean Human Rights Issues, with the rank of ambassador.

Courtesy Robert King
Robert R. King

The nomination was made Sept. 25. His confirmation by the Senate is expected in the next few weeks.

Born in Rock Springs, Wyo., Brother King has served in his ward bishopric and as a gospel doctrine teacher. For the past 16 years, he has also been the ward choir director. He served in the New England Mission from 1961-63 before earning a bachelor of arts in political science at Brigham Young University. He later earned a Ph.D. in international relations from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy in Boston. He and his wife, Kay, have three sons and nine grandchildren.

Brother King worked 24 years as chief of staff to Congressman Tom Lantos, D-Calif., and from 2001-2008, he was also staff director of the Foreign Affairs Committee. When Congressman Lantos died in 2008, Brother King continued for another year as Committee staff director for Chairman Howard L. Berman D-Calif., who endorsed the nomination.

"Bob King is an extraordinarily capable individual with a long track record in shaping U.S. foreign policy," Berman said. "Through the years he has worked diligently on behalf of human rights, and was instrumental in establishing and supervising the congressional human rights commission in Congress named for the late Tom Lantos, the former chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee. He visited North Korea with Mr. Lantos, worked on ensuring the passage of milestone legislation concerning the ongoing human rights situation there, and is well-versed in the issues affecting the region."

His public service includes the National Security Council Staff as a White House Fellow during the Carter Administration, and assistant director of research and analysis at Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany.

He has taught courses on foreign policy and international relations, at the University of Southern California German Study Program, Brigham Young University Study Abroad, American University in Washington, D.C., and New England College. He and is the author of five books and 40 articles on international relations issues.

Among his honors is the Knight's Cross Order of Merit, presented to him by the Republic of Hungary. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.