MARLENE M. JOHNSON
Executive Director Emerita, NAFSA
Marlene Johnson was Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of NAFSA: Association of International Educators, the world's largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education from 1998-2017. Under Johnson's leadership, NAFSA has become the leading advocate on behalf of international education, actively participating in the public and policy debates that impact the field and emerging as a respected voice in support of educational exchanges as a key tool of U.S. foreign policy and public diplomacy.
Johnson's leadership in government, business, and the nonprofit sector spans more than three decades. In 1970, she co-founded an advertising and public relations firm in St. Paul, Minnesota. From 1983 to 1991, she served as lieutenant governor of Minnesota. Later, she served as associate administrator for management services and human resources in the U.S. General Services Administration during the Clinton Administration and as Vice President for People and Strategy at Rowe Furniture.
Johnson is currently the Chair of the Board at Kakenya’s Dream and serves on the Board of the Communications Consortium Media Center in Washington, DC, the Board of Directors for the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA), the Advisory Council of the US-China Education Trust, and is a former board member of the Alliance for International Educational and Cultural Exchange, AFS-USA, AFS Intercultural Programs, the World Press Institute, and the National Association of Women Business Owners. In 1988, she was awarded the Royal Order of the Polar Star by the Kingdom of Sweden.