EVENT

Great Decisions | State of the State Department and Diplomacy

Venue

Boston Public Library, Rabb Hall

700 Boylston Street, Boston, MA 02116

Boston, MA, US, 02116

What is the state of the Department of State and what does the future of diplomacy look like? Great Decisions addresses these questions!

During the Trump administration, the usual ways of conducting diplomacy have been upended. Many positions in the State Department have never been filled, and meetings with foreign leaders such as Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin have been undertaken with little advance planning. What effect are these changes having now, and how will they affect ongoing relationships between the United States and its allies and adversaries? Ambassador Nick Burns and Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield team up to address these questions!

Ambassador Nicholas Burns is the Roy and Barbara Goodman Family Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy & International Relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He is the founder and Faculty Chair of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship. As a career Foreign Service Officer, he was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 2005 to 2008. He was U.S. Ambassador to NATO (2001-2005), Ambassador to Greece (1997-2001) and State Department Spokesman (1995-1997). He worked for five years (1990–1995) on the National Security Council at the White House where he was Senior Director for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Affairs and Special Assistant to President Clinton and Director for Soviet Affairs in the Administration of President George H.W. Bush.

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield is a Senior Counselor at Albright Stonebridge Group, where she draws on her long and distinguished career as a U.S. diplomat to help the clients of ASG’s Africa practice. She joined ASG after serving as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs (2013 – 2017). In this capacity, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield led U.S. policy toward sub-Saharan Africa, with a focus on peace and security, democracy and governance, economic empowerment and investment opportunities. Prior to this appointment, she served as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources where she oversaw all personnel functions for the U.S. Department of State’s 70,000-strong workforce. Previously, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield served as U.S. Ambassador to Liberia (2008-2012) and held postings in Switzerland (at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica.

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