Bonnie Jenkins, A Better Chance Alumna '78

A group of people including UN representative Bonnie Jenkins smile before the Camp David sign
Bonnie Jenkins sits in full military uniform, surrounded by other soldiers, outdoors on bleachers
A woman with dark brown skin, shoulder-length black hair, and checkered shirt smiles while leaning one elbow on a desk
UN representative Bonne Jenkins sits in a chair being interviewed, the wall background indicating Nuclear Security Summit
Close-up of woman with dark brown skin, wavy black hair and earring smiling
A poised woman of color sits before a UN flag, a table tent indicating she is representing the USA, a microphone before her.
Black-and-white photo of young Bonnie Jenkins standing among peers, smiling
Black-and-white photo of Bonnie Jenkins with many other women, all dressed in white and  holding bouquets

Coordinator for Threat Reduction Programs in the Obama Administration, Lt. Commander in the US Naval Reserves, and Expert Peace Advocate whose work has touched most of the major conflicts of our times.

  

My ability to make a difference in the world has been boosted tremendously by the opportunities I received by being an A Better Chance student.

Bonnie Jenkins
A Better Chance Alumna at The Spence School, 1978

Education After Becoming a Scholar

On this topic, Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins says, "I have achieved the highest levels of academic education. I have worked hard all along the way and am happy with the journey." 

Bonnie graduated from high school at The Spence School in 1978.  She then earned her BA at Amherst, followed by a JD at Albany Law School, an MPA from SUNY Albany's Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, an LLM from Georgetown in International and Comparative Law, and a PhD from the University of Virginia in International and Comparative Affairs.

How A Better Chance Changed her Life

Bonnie was told about A Better Chance by an adviser at her junior high school in the Bronx.  From there, she says, her high school experience at Spence was incredibly formative and enjoyable, setting a direction for her entire professional life.

On the opportunity to attend Spence and the change A Better Chance helped make happen in her life, Bonnie says: "A Better Chance opened up opportunities that I would not have had. I was going to attend Bronx High School of Science as my back-up. While I always had the drive to make it in the world, Spence provided me with avenues that I still benefit from today. Being at an all girls high school gave me the space to build confidence and a knowledge that anything I want to accomplish is possible."

Her Career

Among her many other roles, several of which could singly have stood as the change-making opportunity of another person's lifetime, Bonnie served as an Ambassador at the US Department of State, as Special Envoy and Coordinator of Threat Reduction Programs, from 2009 to 2017.  This is only one of many ways she has served to advance the cause of peace in her career.

She currently focuses on a nonprofit she founded, Women of Color Advancing Peace, Security and Conflict Transformation (WCAPS).  

Jenkins has also served in the Naval Reserves, is or has been attached to various think tanks and nonprofits, and is an educator. By the time this is written, she may well have blazed a new trail - so we recommend you consult her LinkedIn profile (which also includes a list of her published works) or Wikipedia article for updates.  

Her current community involvement, both paid and philanthropic, includes:

  • Founder and President: Women of Color Advancing Peace and Security
  • Founder: Global Health Security Agenda Next Generation Network
  • Founder: Department of State Veterans Innovation Project Mentorship Program
  • Emerging Leaders in Biosecurity Initiative, Steering Group Member
  • Center for International Policy, Board Member
  • Arms Control Association, Board Member
  • Constituency for Africa, Board Member
  • International Cancer Expert Corps (ICEC) Task Force Member
  • Reserve Officer Association, Sustaining Member

Learn More

There are several places you can follow Bonnie, and especially her work with WCAPS, including the aforementioned LinkedIn, Twitter (@jenkinsbd and @wcapsnet), Instagram (bonniedejenkins and wcapsnet), and Facebook.

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