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Name: Fairfax, Kenneth
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

Experienced in both nuclear and economic issues, Kenneth J. Fairfax was finally approved by the United States Senate to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to Kazakhstan. The former Soviet republic has been a focus of ongoing efforts to safeguard nuclear materials once owned by the Soviet military, which had key bases in Kazakhstan. Nominated by President Barack Obama on March 29, 2011, Fairfax was sworn in on September 15. 

A Kentucky native, Fairfax graduated from Xavier High School in Louisville in 1977, and earned a B.A. in Government from Oberlin College in 1981. He worked as an urban economist with a private consulting firm in San Francisco, California, and was the president of a small technology company in nearby Silicon Valley.
Fairfax left the private sector in 1987 to join the Foreign Service, beginning his career that year as an Economics and Commercial Officer at the embassy in Muscat, Oman. In 1990, he was assigned to South Korea, where he was Vice Consul at the consulate in Pusan, and then Consul at the embassy in Seoul. While working as Environment Science and Technology Officer at the embassy in Moscow, Russia, from 1993 to 1995, Fairfax specialized in nuclear issues, and is credited with writing several key cables that prompted Washington policymakers to take steps to ensure the safe storage and disposal of nuclear materials recovered from dismantled nuclear weapons. Back in Washington he served as director of nuclear materials security at the National Security Council.
Fairfax’s next assignment was as Deputy Consul General in Vancouver, Canada, from 1997 to 2000. Returning to the former Soviet Union, Fairfax was Counselor for Economic Affairs at the embassy in Kyiv, Ukraine, from 2000 to 2002. He returned to consular work, serving as Principal Officer and Consul General at the Consulate General in Krakow, Poland, from 2003 to 2006, and at the Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, from July 2007 to 2010. His last overseas assignment was as Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs at the embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, from 2010 to 2011.
Fairfax and his wife, Nyetta Yarkin, have been married since about 1986 and have two children. 
The Loose Nukes Cable that Shook Washington (by David Hoffman, Foreign Policy)
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