Kenneth Juster, U.S. Ambassador to India

By Lauren Martinek

Kenneth Juster is the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to India. An expert in economics and in relations with India, Juster began his career as a student at Harvard College, graduating Phi Beta Kappa with a bachelor’s degree in government in 1976. He then earned two more degrees from Harvard, a master’s degree in public policy and a law degree. 

Prior to his appointment, Juster served as Chairman of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs and Vice Chairman of The Asia Foundation. He has been the Under Secretary of Commerce, an acting Counselor of the State Department, an adviser to the Deputy Secretary of State, and most recently, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council. In addition to his work for the U.S. government, Juster has been a partner in the investing firm Warburg Pincus LLC and a senior partner at Arnold & Porter law firm. 

While acting Counselor of the State Department, Juster founded chaired the U.S.-India High Technology Cooperation Group. This group was one of the key players in creating the Next Steps in Strategic Partnership (NSSP) Initiative. The NSSP increased civilian cooperation and interested in both high tech trade and created a dialogue around nuclear missile defense. Due to the impact of these efforts, the U.S.-India Business Council gave Juster the Blackwill Award in 2004. He is considered America’s top expert in U.S.-India trade relations, and his work through NSSP has allowed him to combine the separate fields of defense and trade, including a role in developing the historic U.S.-India civilian nuclear deal.

International relations is a nuanced career that requires navigating cultural differences to find enough similarities to get people to work towards common goals. A knowledge of art, science, and history is needed as well as being able to communicate effectively across language barriers. In this regard, international relations is a field that highlights the importance of studying the liberal arts. Juster is able to draw from his educational background and his professional experience to transcend the fields of economics, business, technology, and law in his work as a diplomat. 

Lauren Martinek is a senior at the State University of New York at Buffalo majoring in environmental studies. The University at Buffalo is home to the Omicron of New York Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa.