YFU International Board Member

Laurence Wohlers became chairman of the board of YFU USA in 2019, after serving on the board for the previous 3 years.  A retired U.S. diplomat, Ambassador Wohlers’ 37-year career took him to Africa, Japan, Western Europe and Moscow.  Many of his assignments involved supporting or creating international exchanges.  In 2009, he became the diplomatic adviser to the Under Secretary of the
Smithsonian Institution in Washington, where he worked on exchanges in the arts and museums.  In 2010, he was named by President Obama to be the U.S. Ambassador to the Central African Republic (CAR), remaining there until he directed the post’s evacuation in December, 2012, prior to the takeover of the capital by rebel forces.  After retiring, he returned to the CAR as the Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General  (DSRSG) for the new peace-keeping mission there (MINUSCA).  During 2016, he served as a senior advisor to NGO Search for Common Ground, which advocates for conflict resolution around the world.  He serves on the editorial board of the Foreign Service Journal and also continues to advise the State Department on conflict resolution questions in Africa.  Ambassador Wohlers is married to Ann Van Steenberge, originally from Belgium.  They have three children.


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