Marie Royce was unanimously confirmed by the United States Senate and sworn in as Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs on March 30, 2018. In this capacity, she oversees a wide range of programs that advance U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, cultural, and sports exchanges that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations and create networks and partnerships to advance U.S. foreign policy goals and address global challenges and opportunities.
Ms. Royce, a businesswoman and former professor, had been the CEO and Principal of Marie Royce, LLC in Fullerton, California since 2016. She has over 30 years of experience in the private sector with Fortune 500 companies and as a small business owner, creating and launching start-ups and new initiatives and serving as a key business liaison to 80 countries. As a former educator/full-time university professor, Ms. Royce led an international grant program between two universities. She has engaged many federal government agencies and served on 20 non-profit boards. She also served as a private sector appointee on the Advisory Committee on International Communications and Information Policy (ACICIP) at the State Department, in addition to serving on two U.S. Cultural Exchange Boards. She traveled as an American Council of Young Political Leaders (ACYPL) delegate to Hungary and Poland. The American Women for International Understanding (AWIU) recognized her with their Internationalism Award. Ms. Royce earned a BSBA (double major) at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona and an MBA at Georgetown University in International Business, with honors, Beta Gamma Sigma. She is the recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award from California State Polytechnic University, Pomona.
Jennifer Zimdahl Galt
Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary
Ambassador Jennifer Zimdahl Galt is the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary (PDAS) for Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). She joined the Bureau on November 13, 2017. The Bureau advances U.S. foreign policy objectives through educational, professional, cultural and sports exchanges that promote mutual understanding between the people of the United States and people of other nations and create networks and partnerships to advance U.S. foreign policy goals and address global challenges and opportunities.
Prior to joining ECA, Ms. Galt was Ambassador of the United States of America to Mongolia from 2015-17. A career member of the State Department’s Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, Ambassador Galt formerly served as Principal Officer of the U.S. Consulate General in Guangzhou, China, where she had the privilege of leading and mentoring a talented team of nearly 500, of whom 62 were first- and second-tour officers. Ambassador Galt’s previous postings overseas have included Belgrade, Taipei with the American Institute in Taiwan, Mumbai, Beijing, Shanghai, and the U.S. Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in Brussels. In Washington, Ambassador Galt served as Senior Advisor in the State Department’s Bureau of Public Affairs and as Deputy Director for Public Diplomacy in the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs.
Ambassador Galt holds Masters’ degrees from National Defense University and Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), as well as a Bachelor’s degree in political science, history and languages from Colorado College in her home state of Colorado. She was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Juris Prudence from Colorado College in 2016. She is fluent in Mandarin and French, and also speaks Italian, Spanish and Serbian. Ambassador Galt is married to the writer Fritz Galt and has a daughter and a son.
Alyson L. Grunder
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy
Alyson Grunder is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Policy in the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). She oversees Alumni Affairs, the Collaboratory, the Cultural Heritage Center, Public-Private Partnerships, and Policy and Evaluation, and she ensures that ECA exchange programs are aligned with and advancing White House and U.S. Department of State foreign policy goals.
A four-time public affairs officer at overseas posts, Ms. Grunder was Minister Counselor for Public Affairs at U.S. Embassy Baghdad from 2014-2015, leading the Mission’s strategic communications and public diplomacy outreach efforts in the wake of the 2014 incursions into Iraq and Syria of the ISIL terrorist group. In addition, she has been the public affairs officer at the U.S. Embassies in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and Kampala, Uganda, as well as at the U.S. Consulate in Montreal, Canada. A New Yorker, Ms. Grunder has served two tours at the New York Foreign Press Center, including as Director from 2011-2014. From 1999-2001, she was a press officer at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, and was Acting Spokesperson on 9/11.
Ms. Grunder speaks French, Japanese and some Russian, and is a recipient of multiple State Department superior and meritorious honor awards. She holds a bachelor’s degree in American Studies from Yale University.
Managing Director for Academic Programs
Marianne Craven is the Managing Director for Academic Programs in the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). The programs supported by her office include Fulbright Scholarships, Humphrey Fellowships, Gilman Scholarships, undergraduate exchanges, teacher exchanges, the promotion of U.S. higher education overseas and study abroad for Americans, and English and foreign language study programs.
Ms. Craven also serves as a liaison for the State Department with the East-West Center in Hawaii, and she contributes to the development of U.S. positions on international higher education issues in multilateral fora. Ms. Craven is a career civil servant who began her U.S. government career as a foreign service officer, serving in Mali, Poland, and Italy. She has held several positions in the ECA Bureau in Washington administering international educational and cultural programs. She is a graduate of Smith College.
Managing Director for Professional and Cultural Exchanges
Chris Miner is the Managing Director for Professional and Cultural Exchanges, responsible for overseeing a broad array of professional, youth, cultural and sports exchange programs for U.S. and foreign audiences, including those supported by the Offices of International Visitors and Citizen Exchanges. She has held program and management positions within ECA since 1993.
Her other positions have included: chief of the Europe/Eurasia Division, Office of Citizen Exchanges, where she oversaw the administration of grants in the Newly Independent States, Central and Eastern Europe and Western Europe, and Deputy Director of the Office of Citizen Exchanges. In 2011, she received the U.S. Department of State’s Ilchman-Richardson Award in recognition and appreciation for her sustained outstanding performance, leadership, vision and integrity in advancing the mission of mutual understanding around the world. Chris graduated from Hollins University and received her M.A. in French Language and Literature from the University of Virginia.
G. Kevin Saba
Managing Director for Private Sector Exchange
G. Kevin Saba serves as Managing Director for Private Sector Exchange at the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). In this capacity, he oversees the Exchange Visitor Program, which brings around 300,000 foreign citizens to the United States annually to teach, study, and build skills. He is concurrently the Director for the Policy and Program Support Division in ECA’s Office of Private Sector Exchange.
Mr. Saba joined the Department of State (DOS) in 2002 as Special Advisor to the Chief Financial Officer. He subsequently served as the DOS liaison assisting with the start-up of the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC). From 2003 -2005, he served as the first Managing Director of the Threshold Country Program of the MCC, administering large-scale grants to fund country-led initiatives to create conditions conducive to reducing poverty and contributing to sustainable economic growth. Mr. Saba returned to DOS in 2006 and assisted in the launch of the Global Partnership Initiative, an effort aimed at strengthening U.S. diplomacy and development worldwide by leveraging the creativity, innovation, and core business resources of civil society, public and private sector partners. During his tenure, Mr. Saba served as Regional Director for Global Partnerships and acted as co-chair of the public-private partnership task force of the Secretary of State’s Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR). He has also has served with the Bureau of International Information Programs.
Mr. Saba has more than 20 years of private sector experience serving in various leadership capacities. His most recent private sector experience included serving as President of Managed Care USA and President of Nations' Care, a subsidiary of the Orion Capital Companies. In June 2008, Kevin was accredited by the Overseas Development Institute and the International Business Leaders Forum as a professional broker of multi-sector partnerships. He earned a Master of Business Administration from the University of Hartford and has enjoyed teaching college courses in business.