Photo of Michael G. Kozak
Michael G. Kozak
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Term of Appointment: 04/03/2014 to present

Ambassador Kozak is a charter member of the career Senior Executive Service of the United States Government. As such, he has served in a number of senior positions in the U.S. Executive Branch:

  • Senior Director on the National Security Council staff (2005-2009) with responsibility for Democracy, Human Rights, International Organizations, Religious Freedom, Migration and Detainee issues. In this capacity, he chaired interagency policy coordinating committees and proposed and coordinated the implementation of events for the President of the United States. He conceived and implemented a system for achieving interagency agreement on democracy promotion strategies and prioritizing resource allocation to implement them. He authored the first National Security Presidential Directive on Democracy and Human Rights since the Carter administration.
  • Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State level positions in three bureaus of the Department of State. (Democracy, Human Rights and Labor 2003-2005; Inter-American Affairs 1988-1991; Legal Adviser 1982-88).
  • Acting Assistant Secretary of State for extended periods. (Democracy, Human Rights and Labor 2004-5; Inter-American Affairs January 1989-July 1989.) As Acting Assistant Secretary for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, he organized passage of a resolution on human rights in Cuba in the UN Commission on Human Rights by the largest margin in over a decade. As Acting Assistant Secretary for Inter-American Affairs, he assisted Secretary Baker in negotiating and implementing the Bipartisan Accord on Central America which was decisive in bringing a democratic end to the conflict in Nicaragua.
  • Ambassador in Minsk, Belarus (2000-2003) and Chief of Mission in Havana, Cuba (1996-1999).

Other U.S. Government Activities:

  • U.S. negotiator with Cuba to secure the return of criminals sent to the United States during the Mariel boat crisis. Signed the first migration accord with Cuba on behalf of the United States and led implementation talks thereafter.
  • Special Presidential envoy to negotiate the departure of General Noriega (1988). Ambassador Kozak accompanied our forces in Panama to help the new government establish the core institutions of democracy (1989).
  • Assistant negotiator for the Panama Canal treaties (1971-1977). Was responsible for negotiating treaty text with the Panamanian negotiators and later for working with members of Congress for approval of the treaties and of implementing legislation (1977-81).
  • Staff of the Middle East peace negotiator (1982-83). Helped implement the Camp David accords and negotiate the withdrawal of the PLO from Lebanon.


  • State Department Superior Honor Award
  • Younger Federal Lawyer Award
  • Presidential Ranks of Distinguished and Meritorious Executive
  • Order of Balboa (presented by the president of Panama)


  • Juris Doctor, University of California at Berkeley, 1971 (Assistant Managing Editor, Law Review)
  • A.B., Political Science, University of California at Berkeley, 1968