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Jay Katzen

Jay K. Katzen
President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation
Assumed office
June 2003
Preceded by Lee Edwards
Member of the Virginia House of Delegates
from the 31st district
In office
January 12, 1994 – January 9, 2002
Preceded by Jerry Wood
Succeeded by Scott Lingamfelter
Personal details
Born Jay Kenneth Katzen
( 1936 -08-23) August 23, 1936 (age 77)
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Patricia Ann Morse
Alma mater Princeton University (B.A.)
Yale University (M.A.)

Jay Kenneth Katzen (born August 23, 1936) is a retired diplomat, business consultant, state legislator, and government agency administrator, and the current President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. He is a graduate of Princeton University (1958) and Yale University (1959) and served presidents Dwight D. Eisenhower through George H.W. Bush. His positions have included White House translator and U.S. representative to the United Nations. He became active in Virginia politics when elected in 1993 to represent the 31st legislative district of the Virginia House of Delegates.[1]

He received his B.A. (magna cum laude) in Political Science from Princeton University in 1958 and his M.A. in International Relations from Yale University the following year. He attended the National War College in 1977, was a visiting Professor at the Boston College Graduate School of Management 1978-79, and was a member of advisory boards at the Duke University Primate Center in 1986 and the University of Kentucky’s Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce in 1989.

U.S. Government

In 2011, Jay Katzen was a Park Ranger at the Talkeetna Ranger Station of Denali National Park, Alaska.

From February 2004 to January 2009, Katzen served as the U.S. Peace Corps’ Regional Director overseeing 19 programs in Europe, the Mediterranean area, and Asia. From August 2005 to May 2006, he served concurrently as Acting Chief of Staff/Chief of Operations of the Peace Corps.

From 1959 to 1979, Katzen served as a career Foreign Service Officer with the U.S. Department of State. His posts included Australia, Burundi, Congo (Kinshasa), communist Romania, Mali, the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, and Congo (Brazzaville). He also was assigned to Washington D.C. – at the State Department and the White House. His responsibilities included consular affairs, promoting American business, political and economic reporting, labor affairs, multilateral negotiation and management. He served as Chargé d'Affaires at two posts, in one instance, opening an embassy and assuring its sustainability.

Katzen was trained at the U.S. State Department’s Foreign Service Institute to speak five languages: French, Romanian, Swahili, Lingala and Kirundi.

In 1990, Katzen was appointed by President Reagan and confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Vice Chairman of the Board of the African Development Foundation, and served in that capacity for two years.

Legislative Experience

Katzen was elected in 1993 to represent the 31st legislative district of Fauquier, Rappahannock, and Warren counties in Virginia's House of Delegates. He was chosen freshman class president, a party whip, and co-patroned over 2,500 bills, including landmark legislation improving the quality of Virginia’s education, and reforming welfare and law enforcement. He served on the Finance, Education, and Agriculture Committees, on the Governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Champion Schools, and on the Council on Indians. He was re-elected three times.[2]

Katzen was the Republican Party’s nominee for Lieutenant Governor in 2001 and for Congress in Virginia’s Ninth District in 2002.

Private Sector

In 2003, Katzen was chosen in a national search to become CEO and President of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation, charged by Congress and the White House—with bipartisan support—to erect a memorial in Washington to the 100 million victims of communism. The monument was unveiled and dedicated by the Foundation’s Honorary Chairman, President George W. Bush, in June 2007.[3]

From 1979 to 1991, Katzen served as a senior advisor reporting directly to the chairmen and senior executives of corporations including Bechtel, Consolidated Gold Fields, Fluor, Kennecott, Newmont Mining, and Phelps Dodge, helping to steer those companies to successful investment opportunities abroad.


Katzen has been recognized by the National Federation of Independent Business, the Vietnam Veterans of America, Virginia’s Council of Indians, 4-H, the Virginia Society for Human Life, the National Vietnam and Gulf War Veterans Coalition, and Virginia’s Armenian community. He served as chairman of the Rappahannock River Basin Commission, and as a board member of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation. Katzen was named the Family Foundation’s Legislator of the Year, and is a recipient of a Martin Luther King Jr. award. He is past president of his local Lions Club International and was a member of Rotary International.


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