Thomas A. Shannon, Jr.
US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs
Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon Jr., Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs and highest ranking Latin America expert in the history of the State Department, will offer special remarks at the Inter-American Dialogue’s 2016 Leadership for the Americas Awards Gala on November 16, 2016.
His crucial role in reshaping the bilateral relationship with Brazil, his active engagement with Venezuela, and his contributions to improving US-Cuba relations over three decades have paralleled the Inter-American Dialogue’s work to further democracy, prosperity, and social equity in the Americas. Most recently, Under Secretary Shannon traveled to Caracas for high-level, bilateral discussions with the government of Venezuela aimed at fostering dialogue between the government and opposition.
Former President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, a founding member of the Dialogue and Chair Emeritus of the Dialogue’s Board of Directors, said: “Tom Shannon has been a strong advocate for policies that advance democratic governance and economic development in the region. His respectful and cooperative style of diplomacy has contributed to defusing tensions in hemispheric relations during particularly challenging times.”
One of the highest ranking officials in the State Department, Ambassador Shannon previously served as Counselor of the Department, US Ambassador to Brazil, Senior Director on the President’s National Security staff, and Political Counselor at the US Embassy in Caracas from 1996 to 1999. Prior to that, he held a variety of positions at the Department including Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Director of Andean Affairs, and US Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS). His career as a Foreign Service officer spans 30 years.
“The Dialogue is honored to recognize Ambassador Shannon’s dedication to public service and diplomacy, and his steadfast commitment to working constructively with other countries in the hemisphere. His life as a diplomat is the very embodiment of the Dialogue’s mission to work cooperatively toward shared goals across the Americas,” said Michael Shifter, the Dialogue’s President.