Donna Welton took up her post as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki in August 2016 following a detail to the Department of Defense as the acting Director for Southeast Asia in the Office of the Secretary of Defense (Policy). A graduate of Yale College and a native of upstate New York (where many Finnish-Americans make their home), she began her career with the United States Information Agency in 1984 and did three tours in Asian posts before returning to graduate school in 1992. After completing her coursework for a PhD in Princeton’s Asian Art and Archaeology Department, she worked as a curator of Japanese art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art and as an exhibitions curator at the American Federation of Arts in New York.
She returned to the Foreign Service in 2000, serving in public diplomacy positions in Tokyo, Nagoya, Washington, and Jakarta and as Consul General in Sapporo, Japan. She also finished a Master of Strategic Studies at the Army War College in July 2011. From 2011 to 2012 she was Counselor for Public Affairs in Kabul, followed by a year at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations as Deputy Director of Communications and Public Affairs. She returned to Japan as Minister-Counselor for Political Affairs in June 2013, serving until August 2015.
Ms. Welton speaks Japanese, Korean, Indonesian, some Dari and is currently a new student of Finnish. She has three adult children.