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Obama May Pick First Black U.S. Envoy to the Philippines

Asian Journal, Posted: Nov 29, 2008

MANILA, Phils. Diplomatic sources recently stated that President-elect Obama has picked career diplomat Harry K. Thomas Jr. as the next ambassador to Manila. Thomas is set to replace current U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines, Kristie Kenney, who also made history as its first female ambassador. At present, the 52-year-old Thomas is Director General of the State Departments Foreign Service, a post he has held since last year. When he circulated an order requiring diplomats to serve in Iraq, it grabbed headlines all over and drew the ire of the diplomats union in Washington, whose members eventually confronted him in late October last year. A graduate of the Holy Cross and Columbia University, Thomas is a veteran of the diplomatic service, having had experience since 1984. He also served as ambassador to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005 before becoming the executive secretary at the U.S. Department of State. Thomas, who speaks fluent Spanish, Bangla and Hindi, has also served in New Delhi, Harare, Kaduna and Lima. For his service, he has received several awards from the State Department, including the Arnold Raphel Award for leadership, motivation and
mentoring of colleagues.



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