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Ambassador to the United Nations – confirmation needed

Linda Thomas-Greenfield

by Deedra Abboud in Political
January 12, 2021 0 comments

Joe Biden has announced his intention to nominate Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The position: Represents the president at the United Nations. Advises on international affairs.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield was born in Baker, Louisiana in 1952.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield grew up in Louisiana, “in a segregated town in which the KKK regularly would come on weekends and burn a cross in somebody’s yard,” she recounted in a TED Talk in 2018.

Neither of her parents graduated high school.

She graduated with a bachelor of arts in 1974 from Louisiana State University, where she encountered a “hostile environment,” facing harassment and racism.

In 1975, she earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Wisconsin–Madison.

Thomas-Greenfield is a Senior Vice President at Albright Stonebridge Group and leads the firm’s Africa practice. She was the inaugural Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy from fall 2017 to spring 2019. She joined ISD in spring 2017 as a Senior State Department Fellow.

From 2013 to 2017 she served as the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, where she led the bureau focused on the development and management of U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa.

Prior to this appointment, she served as Director-General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources (2012-2013), leading a team in charge of the State Department’s 70,000-strong workforce.

Thomas-Greenfield retired in 2017 after a 35-year career with the U.S. Foreign Service. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s distinguished Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica.

In Washington, she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs (2006-2008), and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (2004-2006).

Current and former US foreign service officers praised Thomas-Greenfield as an ideal candidate to restore the standing of the US and rebuild credibility at the venerable multilateral institution.

If confirmed, Thomas-Greenfield will follow in the footsteps of Edith S. Sampson, an American diplomat, lawyer, and judge who was appointed by President Harry Truman as an alternate U.S. delegate to the United Nations in August 1950, making Sampson the first African-American to officially represent the United States at the UN. In 1961 and 1962, she became the first black U.S. representative to NATO.

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