Biden Taps Veteran US Diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield as UN Ambassador  | Voice of America

NEW YORK – U.S. President-elect Joe Biden has named veteran diplomat Linda Thomas-Greenfield to hitch his forthcoming Cabinet as his choose for U.N. ambassador, his transition crew introduced Monday. The publish requires Senate affirmation.

Thomas-Greenfield has labored in each Democratic and Republican administrations throughout her 35-year State Department profession. An Africa specialist, she served as U.S. ambassador to Liberia, and held posts in Kenya, The Gambia and Nigeria. Under President Barack Obama, she served as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs (2013-2017), growing and managing Washington’s coverage towards sub-Saharan Africa. She has additionally labored in Geneva on the U.S. Mission to the United Nations. 

Thomas-Greenfield was a senior supervisor on the State Department, the place she served as director normal of the Foreign Service and director of Human Resources from 2012 to 2013, dealing with issues associated to the State Department’s 70,000 staff. 

She took to Twitter on Tuesday saying she was “blessed for this opportunity.” 

“I’ve had the privilege to build relationships with leaders around the world for the past thirty-five years. As U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, I’ll work to restore America’s standing in the world and renew relationships with our allies,” the longtime diplomat tweeted. 

Earlier, Thomas-Greenfield tweeted her mom taught her to guide with kindness and compassion and she or he would convey that ethos to her mission on the United Nations if she is confirmed.  

Former colleagues additionally responded to her choice alongside long-time Biden overseas coverage aide Anthony Blinken as the president-elect’s selection for secretary of state.  

Former U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman instructed VOA that the selection of the “highly respected” Thomas-Greenfield is “brilliant” and could be a giant morale booster for profession overseas service officers. Feltman, who was additionally the United Nation’s political chief from 2012 to 2018, mentioned he noticed Thomas-Greenfield in motion many occasions. 

“I saw Linda work the room at African Union summits, and she is amazingly effective and efficient at pushing her agenda with 54 African leaders,” he mentioned. “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.”  

President-elect Biden is elevating the publish of U.N. ambassador to Cabinet stage. In current Democrat administrations the place has been half of the Cabinet. President Donald Trump selected to make his first U.N. ambassador, Nikki Haley, a Cabinet member, however didn’t elevate his present envoy, Kelly Craft.   

Early life  

Born in 1952 within the southern state of Louisiana, Thomas-Greenfield, who’s African-American, was one of eight siblings. She mentioned her father left faculty within the third grade to assist assist his household.  

“He couldn’t read or write, but he was the smartest man I knew,” she mentioned of him in a TED speak final 12 months.   

Thomas-Greenfield mentioned her mom additionally had restricted training, however a giant coronary heart. In addition to elevating her personal kids, she took in eight siblings who misplaced their mom so they’d not be separated.  

“I didn’t have successful, educated role models in my life, but what I did have – I had the hopes and dreams of my mother, who taught me at a very early age that I could face any challenge or adversity put in my path by being compassionate and being kind,” Thomas-Greenfield mentioned.   

The former assistant secretary of state grew up through the civil rights period and graduated from a segregated highschool. She then went on to Louisiana State University, which needed to be pressured to just accept Black college students by a courtroom order.   

Thomas-Greenfield mentioned she confronted harassment there and famous that David Duke, the previous chief of the white supremacist group the Ku Klux Klan, was an LSU scholar on the identical time she was, and had already began to evangelise hatred.   

In 2012, LSU requested her again to talk at commencement.   

“I thanked the university for giving me the experiences that made me into the successful person that I had become,” she mentioned. “Adversity is a source of strength.”  

Life-changing expertise  

In April 1994, Thomas-Greenfield arrived in Kigali, Rwanda, as ethnic Hutu extremists started their 100-day genocide towards minority Tutsis.  

She very almost grew to become a causality of the atrocities, confronted by a “glaze-eyed man” who was able to kill her. She remained calm and spoke to the person and survived. But of the genocide, she mentioned, “It changed my life forever.”  

FILE – United States Secretary of State John Kerry, heart, reacts as Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari shakes fingers with Assistant Secretary of State for Africa Linda Thomas-Greenfield on the presidential villa in Abuja, Aug. 23, 2016.

Thomas-Greenfield’s deep information of Africa will serve her nicely on the United Nations, the place greater than half the peace and safety operations the Security Council authorizes are primarily based on the continent.   

She has a conventional diplomatic type, mentioned Ambassador Ronald Neumann, president of the American Academy of Diplomacy, of which Thomas-Greenfield is a member.  

“She puts a lot of attention on listening, on understanding where the other person is coming from, and therefore ensuring that she can prepare the best way of persuading them to do what she wants,” Neumann instructed VOA. He added that she can even be able to construct alliances.   

Thomas-Greenfield might want to make use of her diplomatic type in dealing with challenges to U.S. affect on the United Nations, the place the Trump administration has minimize funding, withdrawn from companies and worldwide accords, and pursued an “America first” coverage.   

“The United States is going to have to compete for influence far more assertively than we are accustomed to doing at the U.N.,” Feltman mentioned. “China has become far more assertive at the U.N. than it was, say at the beginning of Obama administration. You have a lot of middle powers that are not willing to defer to the great powers – they have their own interests in their own region.”   

There can even be a protracted record of different points awaiting her consideration if she is confirmed: COVID-19, local weather change, Iran’s nuclear program, the altering Middle East, and the rising refugee and migrant disaster.   


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