Thomas R. Pickering
Winner of the 2022 Walter and Leonore Annenberg Award for Excellence in Diplomacy
Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering served as the U.S. Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York under President George H.W. Bush. Tom led the U.S. effort to build a global coalition in the UN Security Council during and after the first Gulf War. He also served as the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs under President Bill Clinton.
Tom holds the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. In a diplomatic career spanning five decades, he was U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. He also served on assignments in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. In Washington, Tom was Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of Oceans, Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Executive Secretary of the Department of State, and Special Assistant to Secretaries of State William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger.
After government, he was the Senior Vice President, International Relations, of The Boeing Company. In this role, Tom was responsible for Boeing’s relations with foreign governments and the company’s transition to a global organization. Prior to 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.
In 2012, Tom chaired the Benghazi Accountability Review Board at the State Department.
In 1956, Tom entered into active duty in the U.S. Navy, and later served in the Naval Reserve to the grade of Lieutenant Commander. He was assigned to the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department, later to the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and served in Geneva as political adviser to the U.S. Delegation to the 18-Nation Disarmament Conference.
Tom serves as a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. He is active in a number of not-for-profit boards, including the International Crisis Group, where he was previously Chairman and Co-Chairman of the Board; the current Chairman of the Boards of the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs, and the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy at Georgetown University. He has been a Trustee at the Council on Foreign Relations and the Aspen Institute, among other organizations. Tom maintains close, high-level contacts in all the countries in which he has served, as well as in Europe.
He received a bachelor’s degree, cum laude, with high honors in history, from Bowdoin College. Tom received a master’s degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Melbourne in Australia, and received a second master’s degree there. Tom received an honorary doctor-in-laws degree from Bowdoin College, and has received similar honors from 12 other universities.
He received the Distinguished Presidential Award and the Department of State’s highest award, the Distinguished Service Award. Tom is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the International Institute of Strategic Studies. He speaks French, Spanish, and Swahili and has some fluency in Arabic, Hebrew, and Russian.