Policy Chats
Policy Chats
Mar 12, 2021
California Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis: A Career in Public Service
Play • 33 min

In this episode, Lieutenant Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis talks with students from the UC Riverside School of Public Policy about her accomplished career in public service.

About Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis:

Eleni Kounalakis is the first woman elected Lt. Governor of California. A native Californian, Kounalakis is California’s Representative for International Affairs and Trade, appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom by executive order. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. Kounalakis was the first Greek-American woman – and at age 43 one of America’s youngest – to serve as U.S. Ambassador. Her highly acclaimed memoir, “Madam Ambassador, Three Years of Diplomacy, Dinner Parties and Democracy in Budapest” chronicles the onset of Hungary’s democratic backsliding.

Learn more about Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis via https://ltg.ca.gov/about/

Podcast Highlights:

“Honoring and respecting the fact that this beautiful country welcomed our family in and allows us to be part of our own governance was really the initial reason why I've had a lifetime of involvement.”

-       Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis on the topic of what inspired her to enter a career in public service.

“What was relayed to me was that more than 90% of U.S. foreign policy, in fact, does not change depending who the president is, even if it is a president from a different party.”

-       Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis on the topic of America's relationships with foreign countries drawing from her time as a U.S. Ambassador.

“About 1 out of 5 of all California jobs are associated with international trade, foreign direct investment, and tourism. So, when you think of the trade regime, it's determined by federal policy but it disproportionately affects us.”

-       Lieutenant Governor Kounalakis on the topic of California's role on the world stage regarding trade and the economy.


Eleni Kounalakis (Lieutenant Governor of California)


Maddie Bunting (UCR Public Policy Major, Dean’s Chief Ambassador)

Alfredo Barcenas (UCR MPP Candidate, Dean’s Ambassador)

Music by:

C Codaine



Commercial Links:


This is a production of the UCR School of Public Policy: https://spp.ucr.edu/

Subscribe to this podcast so you don’t miss an episode. Learn more about the series and other episodes via https://spp.ucr.edu/podcast.

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