Katherine Hubay Peterson Canavan (born 1949) is a United States diplomat and career foreign service officer. As of August 2008, she serves as the Civilian Deputy to the Commander and foreign policy advisor to Admiral James G. Stavridis, USN, Commander, United States European Command in Stuttgart, Germany.
From 2005–08 she served as United States Ambassador to the Republic of Botswana, while simultaneously serving as the Secretary of State’s Special Representative to the Southern African Development Community (SADC). From 1996–98, prior to receiving her ambassadorial appointment, Ms. Canavan was the Managing Director of Overseas Citizen Services (OCS) in the Bureau of Consular Affairs, during which time OCS handled the evacuations of private American citizens in 12 countries. Her tour in OCS followed three years in Windhoek, Namibia, as the Deputy Chief of Mission.
Ms. Canavan entered the Foreign Service in 1976, after serving nearly three years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of the Congo. She spent the first three and a half years of her career in the Bureau of African Affairs, serving as a regional affairs officer, staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary, desk officer and press officer. In 1979, she transferred to Kingston, Jamaica, where she worked on the non-immigrant visa line and served as Chief of the NIV section.
Returning to the Department in late 1981, Ms. Canavan worked briefly in the Office of Caribbean Affairs before starting the five-month Mid-Level Course in February 1982. She then moved over to FSI’s Orientation Division where she was Deputy Coordinator and taught the A-100 class and other orientation courses for two and a half years. From March 1985 to March 1987, she was the Division Chief for Latin America in the Office of Overseas Citizen Services, where her division focused on non-emergency services to Americans, including citizenship determinations. She also worked on task forces for the several terrorist aircraft and ship hijackings that took place during that period.
Building on her initial experience in OCS, Ambassador Canavan transferred to Tijuana, Mexico, as the Chief of American Citizen Services. As the most visited foreign city by Americans, Tijuana had nearly 20% of all the arrest cases worldwide. She left Tijuana in 1990 to take over the Junior Officer Division in the Office of Career Development and Assignments, and after two years in that position, was selected for senior training at the National War College (Class of ’93).
Ambassador Canavan received the Presidential Rank Award in December 2003 and throughout her career received numerous awards, including Senior Performance Pay, Superior Honor Awards, numerous Meritorious Honor Awards and holds the rank of Career Minister.
Ambassador Canavan was born in Southern California, and has a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She speaks French and Spanish. She is currently married to Lieutenant General Retired Michael Canavan.