FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – More than 30 years of government service in multiple countries worldwide, but Ambassador Kristina Kvien has not forgotten her roots.
Fresno is home, she moved here with her family at age three.
“I went all through school here. I attended Gibson Elementary, Tenaya Middle School, and Bullard High School,” Ambassador Kvien said.
The ambassador serves at the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan, Armenia, her assignment since January. A good fit, she says.
“I was thrilled because obviously growing up in Fresno I knew a lot of Armenian-Americans growing up.”
Her government service began after college and led to multiple assignments in Europe and Asia. She spent three years in Ukraine as acting ambassador when the war broke out with Russia.
Now in Armenia, Kvien is in another hot spot supporting Armenia through a refugee crisis- the mass exodus of 100,000 ethnic Armenians from Nagorno Karabakh after a Sept. 19 attack by Azerbaijan.
“We put about 11.5 million dollars’ worth of new money into helping to resettle and taking care of the displaced,” she said. “Now the challenge is to give people more permanent shelter and another thing the United States is working on is to encourage the ability for folks to go back if they wish.”
Moving forward, Kvien says Armenia does have the attention of the State Department and the Biden administration. She says she’ll work to further strengthen the relationship if that’s the desire of Armenia’s leadership.
“I consider my job is to help Armenia succeed despite the many challenges that it faces including the neighborhood that it’s in and the challenges it faces because of that,” Ambassador Kvien said.