Who is Linda Thomas-Greenfield - US Ambassador to the UN: Biography, Life, Career and Family
|Thomas-Greenfield was nominated to become the next U.S. Ambassador to the UN. Photo: UN Dispatch|
Who is Linda Thomas-Greenfield?
Linda Thomas-Greenfield is the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations designate in the future Biden administration. She spent more than three decades with the U.S. Foreign Service, including as the ambassador to Liberia and in posts on four different continents, as cited by Ballotpedia.
Recently, Linda Thomas-Greenfield has been just nominated to become the next U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations by President-elect Joe Biden.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield: Biography
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, a member of the Career Foreign Service, has served as the Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs since 2013. In this capacity, she leads the bureau in the Department of State 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 of approximately 400 employees who handled the full range of personnel functions for the State Department’s 70,000-strong workforce -- from recruitment and hiring to evaluations, promotions, and retirement.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s 34-year Foreign Service career includes an ambassadorship to Liberia (2008-2012), and foreign postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. In addition to the Bureau of Human Resources, her Washington postings include the Bureau of African Affairs (2006-2008) where she served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (2004-2006) where she served as Deputy Assistant Secretary.
Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was the 2015 recipient of the Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award and the 2000 recipient of the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She has received several Superior, Meritorious, and Performance awards, including the Presidential Meritorious Service Award. She was a 2010 inductee into the Louisiana State University Alumni Association Hall of Distinction.
Prior to joining the Department of State, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield taught Political Science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania. She earned a bachelor's degree from Louisiana State University and a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin, where she also did work towards a doctorate.
Early Life and Education
Thomas-Greenfield was born in 1952 in Baker, Louisiana.
In 1974 Thomas-Greenfield graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. She then completed a Master’s Degree in Political Science at the University of Wisconsin the following year (1975) and taught political science at Bucknell University in Pennsylvania.
Although she began a doctoral program, after a year-long political science fellowship in Liberia, Linda Thomas-Greenfield completed the Foreign Service exam rather than her Ph.D. dissertation. She joined the U.S. Foreign Service and received her first overseas assignment in 1982 as a consular officer in the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.
Attending Louisiana State University in the early 1970s, she encountered a "hostile environment" where she faced harassment and racism, as cited by CNN.
There is not very much information about the personal life of Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Her official biography says Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s husband is called Lafayette. Together, the couple has two children, Lindsay, and Lafayette II.
|Photo: The Focus|
Not much else is known about her husband, Lafayette, as he seems to keep his online life private. However, their son, Lafayette II Greenfield has a Twitter account, where he sometimes posts about his family, among other things.
His LinkedIn shows that Lafayette II studied political science at Radford University before going on to study law at Howard University.
According to The Focus, he then went on to pass the bar exam in the state of New York and is currently based in Washington D.C. Lafayette II’s practice focuses on advising clients in the aerospace and telecommunications industries.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield joined the U.S. Foreign Service and received her first overseas assignment in 1982 as a consular officer in the U.S. Embassy in Kingston, Jamaica.
Linda Thomas-Greenfield later held diplomatic positions at U.S. embassies in Lagos, Nigeria, Banjul, Gambia, and Nairobi, Kenya. She also served in the American embassies in Islamabad, Pakistan, and Bern, Switzerland.
In April 1994, Linda Thomas-Greenfield was assigned to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali, Rwanda. Two days after her arrival in that nation, the Rwandan genocide began. Thomas-Greenfield was mistaken for a Tutsi and held at gunpoint until she could prove her American nationality.
In between overseas assignments Linda Thomas-Greenfield worked at the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C. From 1991 to 1993 she was a staff assistant in the Office of the Director-General of the Foreign Service. From 2004 to 2006 she worked in the Department’s Bureau of Human Resources, as a deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, as cited by Black Past.
|Linda Thomas-Greenfield as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs. Photo: Youtube|
In 2008, President George W. Bush nominated Linda Thomas-Greenfield as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia. She represented U.S. interest there and encouraging the democratization of the nation after decades of civil wars. She served in Monrovia, Liberia until 2012.
After returning from Liberia Linda Thomas-Greenfield served from 2012 to 2013 as Director-General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources. Linda Thomas-Greenfield was sworn in as Assistant Secretary for the Bureau of Africa Affairs on August 6, 2013.
In 2000, Linda Thomas-Greenfield received the Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs. She has also received Superior, Meritorious, and Performance Awards, including the Presidential Meritorious Service Award in 2007 and 2008.
Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield was a 2010 inductee into the Louisiana State University Alumni Association Hall of Distinction and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa from Cuttington University in 2011. After traveling the world, Linda Thomas-Greenfield returned to Baker, Louisiana in May 2014, to give the commencement address at the formerly all-white high school she had not been allowed to attend.
|Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary (Liberia) |
Appointed: June 6, 2008
Presentation of Credentials: August 27, 2008
Termination of Mission: Left post on February 29, 2012
Director-General of the Foreign Service
Appointed: April 2, 2012
Entry on Duty: April 2, 2012
Termination of Appointment: August 2, 2013
Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs
Appointed: August 6, 2013
Entry on Duty: August 6, 2013
Termination of Appointment: March 12, 2017
Nomination for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations
The Biden Transition announced on November 23, 2020, that Linda Thomas-Greenfield would be nominated for U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. She tweeted the same day:
Jeffrey Feltman, a former United Nations undersecretary, said of Linda Thomas-Greenfield, "She leavened her diplomatic approach with real human empathy and warmth. I think she will be perfect for restoring U.S. leadership at the U.N. and sort of rebooting the U.N. and our multilateral alliances for meeting today's challenges.".
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