Laura Winthrop Abbot serves as Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the U.S.-Japan Council. Until January 2017, Laura was the Senior Advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships at the U.S. Department of State. From 2011-2015, Laura served with the U.S.-Japan Council in the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo as Executive Director of the TOMODACHI Initiative, a public-private partnership to provide exchange and leadership development opportunities to young Japanese and Americans. She moved to Japan just six weeks before the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011 as a Council on Foreign Relations-Hitachi Fellow. Previously, Laura served as Professional Staff Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, as a political risk consultant at Control Risks, and as Special Assistant to the President of the Council on Foreign Relations. She holds a master’s degree in International Relations from Cambridge University and an undergraduate degree from Harvard University, and serves on the boards of All Hands Volunteers and The Other Side of Service.