Elizabeth McKay was the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission and formerly the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at the U.S. Mission in South Africa until July 2018. She was responsible for the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria and the U.S. Consulates in Cape Town, Johannesburg, and Durban. As the Minister Counselor for Public Affairs, Elizabeth directed public diplomacy outreach, programmatic initiatives, and thoughtful dialogue with an audience of 57 million South Africans.
Elizabeth’s overseas public diplomacy assignments have included Rome, Ankara, Vientiane, San Jose, Chiang Mai, Bangkok and Calcutta. She also served in Washington, D.C. as the Director of Public Diplomacy for the State Department’s Bureau of Europe and Eurasian Affairs (EUR). In that position she oversaw EUR’s Public Diplomacy operations for 50 diplomatic missions in Europe (2009-2012). Elizabeth also served as the Director of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) for Mexico (2000-2002) and subsequently as Deputy Director for INL’s Office of Africa, Asia and Europe (2003-2005). She is married to retired Foreign Service Officer Robert McKay. They have two children.
Elizabeth has a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Central Florida and a Masters in National Security Strategy from the National War College. In addition to multiple State Department Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor awards, she has received interagency recognition for her achievements. She speaks Spanish, Italian, Thai, Lao and Turkish.
Roadmap to 50x50: Power and Parity in Women's Leadership, April 17, 2019.