Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Ambassador-designate has La Follette School connection

Ambassador-designate Linda Thomas-Greenfield received an honorary PhD from UW-Madison in 2018. Ambassador-designate Linda Thomas-Greenfield received an honorary PhD from UW-Madison in 2018.

President-elect Joe Biden has nominated alumna Linda Thomas-Greenfield U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. Thomas-Greenfield received her master’s degree in public administration from UW–Madison’s Center for the Study of Public Policy and Administration – the La Follette School’s predecessor – in 1975.

Thomas-Greenfield is a distinguished resident fellow in African studies at the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University and on leave from a senior vice president position at Albright Stonebridge Group, an international consulting firm.

President George W. Bush named Thomas-Greenfield ambassador to Liberia in 2008 – a position she held until 2012. She also held foreign postings in Switzerland, Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica.

From 2013 to 2017, she served as assistant secretary of state for African Affairs in the U.S. Department of State. Thomas-Greenfield received an honorary doctoral degree from UW–Madison in May 2018.

Thomas-Greenfield also helped launch UW–Madison’s Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI), which began in 2017. YALI’s flagship program, the Mandela Washington Fellowship, brings 25 of Africa’s emerging leaders to UW–Madison and other universities for leadership training, academic coursework, mentoring, networking, professional opportunities, and support for activities in their communities.

La Follette School faculty and staff, including Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee, have assisted UW–Madison’s African Studies Program with developing the six-week session.

“This exciting news demonstrates the value of an education from the La Follette School and its predecessor,” said Yackee. “Our outstanding master’s degree training can lead to some of the highest offices in the world, and we are extremely proud of Ambassador-designate Thomas-Greenfield for her commitment to evidence-based policymaking and advancing the greater good.”