General Colin L. Powell, USA (Ret) became the 65th Secretary of State on January 20, 2001. After the events of September 11, Colin Powell led the State Department in major efforts to solve regional and civil conflicts in many areas across the globe, especially in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition to confronting global security challenges, General Powell was at the forefront in the fight against HIV/AIDS, in the promise of the Millennium Challenge Account, and in pursuing a freer trading and investment climate worldwide.
Before becoming Secretary of State, Colin Powell served as a key aide to the Secretary of Defense and as National Security Advisor to President Reagan. He also served 35 years in the United States Army, rising to the rank of Four-Star General and serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989 – 1993). During this time he oversaw 28 crises to include the Panama intervention of 1989 and Operation Desert Storm in the victorious 1991 Persian Gulf War.
In 1997, General Powell became the founding Chairman of America’s Promise– The Alliance for Youth, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to mobilizing people from every sector of American life to build the character and competence of the nation’s youth. He has also been a member of the Board of Trustees of Howard University and the Board of Directors of the United Negro College Fund. The General also served on the Board of Governors of The Boys & Girls Clubs of America and was a member of the Advisory Board of the Children’s Health Fund.
Since returning to private life, General Powell has become a strategic limited partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. He is also on the Board of Directors of Revolution Health Care, a company developing strategies for consumer-directed health care. Powell is the Founder of the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies at his alma mater, the City College of New York, and he is helping to raise funds for the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial in Washington, DC and for the construction of an education center for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
General Powell is the author of his best-selling autobiography, My American Journey. He holds a bachelor’s degree from the City College of New York (CCNY) and an MBA from George Washington University.
He is the recipient of many of the highest U.S. military and civilian awards, including both the Defense and Army Distinguished Service Medals, the Legion of Merit, and two Presidential Medals of Freedom. In addition, he has received awards from over two dozen countries to include a French Legion of Honor and an honorary knighthood bestowed by H.M. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain.