Margot Carrington retired from the Department of State in 2018 after a 25-year career, which culminated in a four-year tour as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs, U.S. Embassy, Tokyo, a senior role overseeing a $10 million budget and 70 American and Japanese staff. Margot was the ambassador’s lead advisor on public diplomacy, managed all USG bilateral exchange programs, and raised the profile of the United States through traditional and social media. She also served as chair of the binational commission that administers the Fulbright program in Japan. Just prior to her retirement, her achievements in strengthening U.S.-Japan cultural exchange were recognized with the Lois Roth Award for Cultural Diplomacy.
Her previous position was as Director of the Washington, D.C., and New York Foreign Press Centers. From 2011 to 2013, she was Deputy Director in the Office of Rightsizing, and served on the board of Executive Women at State. She was the recipient of a 2010-2011 Una Chapman Cox Sabbatical Leave Fellowship to conduct research on the challenges faced by working women, and a Fellow in the International Women’s Forum Leadership Foundation, an executive training program for female leaders. From 2007 to 2010, Margot served as Principal Officer for the U.S. Consulate in Fukuoka, Japan. As the first female officer with children in that position, she was a sought-after speaker on women’s issues.
Margot began her diplomatic career with the United States Information Agency. After two years of Japanese language training, she took up her first assignment as Deputy Director of the Tokyo American Center. Margot then served a four-year tour in Kuala Lumpur as Cultural Attaché after studying Malay at the University of Malaya. In 2003, she returned to Japan as deputy of the Cultural Affairs Office.
Margot graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Florida with a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master’s in International Relations. In addition to the Lois Roth award, she is the recipient of three U.S. Department of State Superior Honor Awards, a Language Achievement Award for Japanese, and multiple individual and group Meritorious Awards. She speaks native French, fluent Japanese, and is conversational in Malay and Spanish.
In retirement, Margot continues to champion women and served as a member of a new trilateral (US-Japan-Korea) women’s empowerment initiative administered by the Mike Mansfield Foundation. She is also on the board of advisors of Global GLOW (Girls Leading Our World), which provides mentoring programs to girls worldwide, and of the Japan Women’s Leadership Initiative (JWLI), which identifies and supports Japanese women leading social change.
She lectures frequently at institutions such as the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and serves on the selection committee for the Mike Mansfield Fellowship, which sends America public servants on a yearlong exchange program to Japan. Margot also enhances cultural exchanges between Florida and Japan by serving as the Vice-Chair of the Japan-America Society of Miami/South Florida and as a board member of the Florida Wakayama Sister State Association.
- The Status of Women & Girls in the Far East
- Strategies for Advancing Working Mothers