Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was a career diplomat with four decades of experience in the Foreign Service. First as an ISD Senior State Department Fellow in 2017-2018, and then as the inaugural ISD Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies, Thomas-Greenfield quickly became a favorite among School of Foreign Service students and an integral part of the ISD family. Her graduate capstone courses on South Sudan set a high standard for linking the theory of change to the realities of policy. Beyond the classroom, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield was and remains a beloved mentor to many. She has continued her commitment to mentorship and service as a Non-resident Fellow at ISD.
“The People’s Ambassador”
Across all her assignments, Thomas-Greenfield demonstrated a commitment to the highest standards of global public service. During her time as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia, Thomas-Greenfield earned the nickname “The People’s Ambassador” for her engagement with local populations. In addition to her ambassadorship in Liberia, Thomas-Greenfield served as Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs and as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources. Throughout her career, she has worked to advance diversity at the State Department, a cause that she continued to advance at ISD.
ISD Director Ambassador Barbara Bodine noted:
“Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield is an excellent choice for this position and we could not be more proud of her. She has deep experience in conflict areas and has worked on crafting sustainable agreements to bring about peace. After serving in Africa, first as ambassador and then as Assistant Secretary, as well as through her work in Geneva, she understands how the U.S. operates most effectively through multilateral collaboration in the field, on the ground every day.”
Thomas-Greenfield’s appointment, among the first diplomatic and national security appointments made by President-elect Biden, “signals that diplomacy is going to be a fundamental tool, not a secondary tool, of national policy, and that the U.S. will re-engage credibly, collaboratively, with our partners, our friends, and the rest of the world.”