2022 World Affairs Council of the Year
Network of Independent World Affairs Councils of America

🌐 In Memoriam | Ambassador John C. Kornblum (1943—2023)

The Tennessee World Affairs Council Board of Directors and staff are saddened to share that Ambassador John Kornblum has passed away. He was a member of the TNWAC Advisory Board and regularly shared his insights and expertise in the Council’s distinguished speaker program. Ambassador Kornblum’s exceptional service to the United States included key roles in European affairs during the Cold War and post-Cold War periods. His contributions were many, such as those mentioned below and in THIS recognition from David Marsh at the OMFIF.  The Tennessee World Affairs council extends condolences to Ambassador John Kornblum’s family and friends.


Ambassador John C. Kornblum
February 6, 1943 — December 21, 2023


Ambassador John C. Kornblum leaves behind a long record of service in the United States and Europe both as a diplomat and statesman. The son of Samuel and Ethelyn Kornblum, he was born in Detroit in 1943, and received a B.A. from Michigan State University in 1964. He married Helen Sen in 1987. The couple had two sons, Alexander and Stephen.

Amb. Kornblum was a preeminent expert on U.S.-European political and economic relations. He served as U.S. Ambassador to Germany from 1997 to 2001, and held many high-level diplomatic posts, including U.S. assistant secretary of state for European affairs, special envoy for the Dayton Peace Process, U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (Helsinki Process), deputy U.S. ambassador to NATO, and U.S. minister and deputy commandant of forces in divided Berlin.

After his retirement from government service, Amb. Kornblum was chairman of Lazard Freres Germany, and senior counselor to the international law firm Noerr. He served on numerous boards, including the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, the Deutsche Oper in Berlin, and also as trustee of the American Academy in Berlin, which he helped establish. He was the recipient of many honorary awards, including a Knights Cross of the Order of Merit from Germany and an Order of Merit from Austria.

Memorial Service
Saturday, January 27, at 2:00 pm
Westminster Presbyterian Church
3900 West End Avenue
Nashville, Tennessee 37205

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to help protect Ukraine from air-borne attack, a cause of great importance to Ambassador Kornblum: LINK


THE MISSION of the nonprofit, nonpartisan Tennessee World Affairs Council is to promote international awareness, understanding and connections to enhance the region’s global stature and to prepare Tennesseans to thrive in our increasingly complex and connected world.

THE VISION of  the Tennessee World Affairs Council is a well-informed community that thinks critically about the world and the impact of global events.