Online Program Enrolling Now - Seton Hall - United Nations Institute for Training and Research
Online Program Enrolling Now - Seton Hall - United Nations Institute for Training and Research

BLUE SMOKE: A monthly column, from PassBlue and UNA–UK, spotlighting senior appointments at the UN

Who Is Kelly Knight Craft? A Podcast to Get to Know the New US Ambassador to the UN


Kelly Knight Craft, the newly confirmed US ambassador to the UN, with members of the Youth Ambassadors Program at the US embassy in Ottawa, in her former role as US diplomat to Canada, July 16, 2019.

She calls herself a homemaker, a philanthropist and a consultant, but who, exactly, is Kelly Knight Craft, the newly confirmed United States ambassador to the United Nations?

This week, UN-Scripted, PassBlue’s new podcast series, features veteran journalist and PassBlue columnist Irwin Arieff, who describes how Knight Craft will handle all the hot files at the US mission to the UN. She is supposed to start working in a few weeks, although precisely when remains a big question with no answer yet from the US mission to the UN.

Knight Craft, a longtime Republican donor and most recently US  ambassador to Canada, will sit next to President Trump during the UN General Assembly in September, so we asked Arieff to analyze how Knight Craft will compare with her predecessor, Nikki Haley, who left the UN post in December 2018.

For the last eight months, the post of US ambassador to the UN, the second-most important diplomatic position in the US government after secretary of state, has been vacant.

Arieff expects Knight Craft to hold many receptions for diplomats based at the UN in New York and to be a loyal soldier to President Trump.

To hear how Arieff thinks she’ll fare on foreign policy issues and to learn more about Knight Craft’s agreement with the State Department on possible conflicts of interest, download our second episode of UN-Scripted (available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, TuneIn, and Google Play) or tune in below. — STÉPHANIE FILLION and KACIE CANDELA with research by Brianna Lyman

We welcome your comments on this article.  What are your thoughts?

Stéphanie Fillion is a New York-based reporter specializing in foreign affairs and human rights who has been writing for PassBlue regularly for a year, including co-producing UN-Scripted, a new podcast series on global affairs through a UN lens. She has a master’s degree in journalism, politics and global affairs from Columbia University and a B.A. in political science from McGill University. Fillion was awarded a European Union in Canada Young Journalists fellowship in 2015 and was an editorial fellow for La Stampa in 2017. She speaks French, English and Italian.

Kacie Candela is an assistant editor for PassBlue and a news anchor and reporter with WFUV, a public radio station in the Bronx, N.Y., where she covers the UN and other beats. Her work has won various awards from the New York State Associated Press Association, New York State Broadcasters Association, PRNDI, and the Alliance for Women in Media.

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Who Is Kelly Knight Craft? A Podcast to Get to Know the New US Ambassador to the UN
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4 years ago

The appointment of a relative governmental novice and basically a mere policy cipher as the US PermRep at the UN makes me think back to when Eisenhower first made the post a Cabinet position so PermRep Henry Cabot Lodge Jr. could contact him directly. Ever since different administrations have made it or unmade it a cabinet post. Obama made it a cabinet position and Trump unmade it with Knight Craft, though Nikki Haley was in the cabinet.
The Trump administration has done more than that, however, by demoting it substantively far more than any other predecessor. Its bilateral transactional deal-making self-styled America First approach to foreign policy severely downplays multilateral diplomacy and the institutions that embody it. So Mrs. Craft appropriately symbolizes this change, alas. JOHN VINCENT

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