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5 Black Women Who Will Shape The Biden Administration

5 Black Women Who Will Shape The Biden Administration

When Linda Thomas-Greenfield arrived at the United Nations headquarters a few weeks ago, the U.S. was just about to assume its turn as head of the U.N. Security Council, the organization’s most important decision-making body. She was thus thrust into the leadership of the international community.

“I not only had to hit the ground running, I’m actually hitting the ground sprinting,” she joked.

Thomas-Greenfield’s decades of diplomatic experience has more than prepared her for this role as the face of the United States, at a time when the new administration is attempting to re-engage with the United Nations and the global community as a whole. After former President Donald Trump spent four years denigrating the U.N.,
withdrawing from international agreements and alienating allies, many diplomats and U.N. officials welcomed Thomas-Greenfield — with whom many of them have a long history — and welcome the return of American leadership. 

Thomas-Greenfield’s experience has gained her valuable political connections at home as well. Last year, she co-authored an article with retired diplomat William J. Burns laying out plans for restoring the State Department, which saw a steep decline in staff and morale under the Trump administration. Her close connections with the State Department are already having an impact there – she was one of the top officials consulted by the new Secretary of State Antony Blinken to help plan ways to increase diversity among U.S. diplomats. Her links to the State Department and to Burns, who has been nominated by Biden to lead the CIA, gives Thomas-Greenfield very powerful Washington connections to back up her agenda.

Among other policy priorities, Thomas-Greenfield’s extensive experience as a diplomat and policymaker for Africa, including a stint as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, will help revive U.S. policy towards the continent. For example, she recently signaled that she will help pressure Ethiopia to address the humanitarian crisis caused by the recent war against the former government of the country’s northern Tigray region.

Re-engaging Africa will also help the U.S. as it confronts the global influence of China, which has invested tens of billions of dollars in Africa as part of its growing global influence. U.S.-China relations will be one of the Biden administration’s top foreign policy challenges. After four years of near-isolationism on the part of the U.S. government, Thomas-Greenfield has the experience and energy to tackle the many foreign policy challenges that the U.S. now faces.

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