On Tuesday (February 23), the Senate confirmed Linda Thomas-Greenfield as the United States ambassador to the UN by a 78-20 vote.
Thomas-Greenfield was nominated by President Joe Biden and brings a breadth of experience in foreign relations, having previously served as the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs. She is the fifth consecutive woman to be appointed in this role and follows other Black UN ambassadors including Susan Rice and Andrew Young.
Vice President Kamala Harris will swear Thomas-Greenfield in on Wednesday (February 24) and then, the new ambassador will head straight to work.
And she'll have her work cut out for her when she gets to New York on Thursday (February 25), since the UN Security Council is slated to meet on March 1.
On top of budget issues and strained relations inherited from the previous administration, Thomas-Greenfield will be in a position to help shift the relationship between the US and China.
According to a report by POLITICO, UN Secretary General António Guterres has “urged [Europe] to play the role of bridge builder. Unless we can make the two of them work together on climate and Covid, the UN agenda remains paralyzed,” European Ambassador Barbara Woodward said.
Thomas-Greenfield brings 35 years of experience working across the continent of Africa through the state department. Experts and advocates say will be necessary to navigate the issues the UN is looking to address, including equitable global vaccine distribution.
“We believe Linda Thomas-Greenfield’s background…makes her extremely qualified to understand the scale of this crisis and the importance of US-Africa policy,” Sean Simons, a spokesperson for the anti-poverty ONE campaign said.
Officials expressed general excitement to work with Thomas-Greenfield, citing the relief after the last administration. “It can only get better,” one adviser said. “We’re cautiously optimistic,” they added referring to the return of the US to UN initiatives and programs like WHO.
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