Linda Thomas-Greenfield is President Joe Biden’s pick for U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
Thomas-Greenfield, 69, was born in Louisiana and attended Louisiana State University where she obtained her bachelor’s degree before earning her master’s at the University of Wisconsin and working toward a Ph.D.
Thomas-Greenfield worked at the U.S. Foreign Service for 35 years and she held an ambassadorship in Liberia from 2008 to 2012 as well as other roles in The Gambia, Nigeria, Switzerland, Pakistan, Jamaica and Kenya.
In Washington, D.C., Thomas-Greenfield served as deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration from 2004 to 2006, as well as principal deputy assistant secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs from 2006 to 2008.
For a year starting in 2012, Thomas-Greenfield was also the director-general of the Foreign Service and director of human resources.
From 2013 to 2017, she worked as the assistant secretary for the Bureau of African Affairs, with a focus on sub-Saharan Africa.
More recently ahead of her selection by President Joe Biden, Thomas-Greenfield was a senior vice president for strategic commercial diplomacy firm Albright Stonebridge Group — which is co-chaired by former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and former Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez — and headed their Africa Practice.
In 2017, she was also named a Distinguished Resident Fellow in African Studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy through the spring of 2019.
Over the course of her career, Thomas-Greenfield has been granted numerous accolades for her work, including the 2000 Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs, the 2015 Bishop John T. Walker Distinguished Humanitarian Service Award, the Presidential Meritorious Service Award and a 2010 induction into the Louisiana State University Alumni Association Hall of Distinction.
Biden’s transition team announced her nomination for the position on Nov. 23.
During her testimony, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee pressed Thomas-Greenfield about a 2019 speech at the Savannah State University Confucius Institute, which was funded by the Chinese government but has since shut down.
She called accepting the invitation a “huge mistake,” noting that she had done so as a part of her commitment to interact with young Black students and encourage them to consider a career in foreign affairs.
With a more traditional approach to foreign policy than the Trump administration, Thomas-Greenfield said in her testimony that walking away from the table allows for others to “fill the void” and for the “global community” to suffer.
“When America shows up — when we are consistent and persistent — when we exert our influence in accordance with our values — the United Nations can be an indispensable institution for advancing peace, security, and our collective well-being,” she said.
Thomas-Greenfield is expected to be confirmed by the Senate.