"What does an Ambassador do?" - Amb. Thomas Pickering

Questions covered: What does an ambassador do? So which were your favorite or most memorable posts? How would you define your managerial style? What is the lesson that has taken you the longest to learn? What are your thoughts on thelegalization of marijuana? If you can make a phone call to the past, whom would you call and why? What is the most enduring impression of your childhood? What’s the best advice you’ve ever received? How do you deal with anger? What is the art of staying married? Have you ever shared vodka with Putin?

Has the color of Obama's skin affected global relations?

BIO: US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs 1997-2000 US Ambassador to the UN 1989-92

In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, Thomas R. Pickering was U.S. Ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Pickering also served on assignments in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

Pickering entered on active duty in the U.S. Navy from 1956-1959, and later served in the Naval Reserve to the grade of Lieutenant Commander. Between 1959 and 1961, he was assigned to the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department and later to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency. From 1962 to 1964 Pickering served in Geneva as political adviser to the U.S. Delegation to the 18-Nation Disarmament Conference.

From 1973 to 1974 Thomas Pickering served as Executive Secretary of the Department of State and Special Assistant to Secretaries William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger. Between 1974–1978 Pickering was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Jordan and from 1978 to 1981, he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affair. He was U.S. Ambassador to Nigeria between 1981–1983, U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador between 1983–1985 and then U.S. Ambassador to Israel between 1985–1988. He won the Distinguished Presidential Award in 1983 and again in 1986. From 1989 to 1992 Thomas Pickering was U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York, where he played a critical role as Ambassador during the First Gulf War, helping to lead the United Nations Security Council’s response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Pickering served as U.S. Ambassador to India between 1992–1993 and then U.S. Ambassador to Russia between 1993–1996 before his appointment between 1997–2000 as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the number three position at the State Department.

In 1996, Pickering was awarded the Department of State’s highest award – the Distinguished Service Award - and he holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Pickering joined Boeing upon his retirement in 2000. Before that he was briefly the president of the Eurasia Foundation, a Washington-based organization that makes small grants and loans in the states of the former Soviet Union. He served for five and half years as Senior Vice President International Relations and as a member of the Executive Council of The Boeing Company where he was responsible for the company’s relations with foreign governments and the company's globalization. Since December 2006 Thomas R. Pickering has been Vice Chairman at Hills and Company which provides advice and counsel to a number of major U.S. enterprises. Together with fellow GLF Member, Lakhdar Brahimi, Thomas Pickering co-chaired an international task force on Afghanistan, organised by the Century Foundation. Their findings and recommendations seek to determine what kind of political path might lead to ending the war.

In 1984, Thomas Pickering was awarded an honorary doctor-in-laws degree from Bowdoin College, and has received similar honors from 12 other universities.

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