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U.S. Ambassador Harriet L Elam-Thomas

U.S. Ambassador Harriet L Elam-Thomas

U.S. Ambassador Harriet L Elam-Thomas

Ambassador Harriet Lee Elam-Thomas, an ACE Global Leader of Excellence since 2023, is a retired United States diplomat and university professor who directed the Diplomacy Program under International and Global Studies at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in Orlando, Florida until 2021. From 2000 to 2002, Thomas served as the United States Ambassador to Senegal.

From 2003 to 2005, Thomas served as Diplomat-in-Residence at UCF under the auspices of a national U.S. Department of State program. She was the U.S. Department of State's official liaison in Central Florida, conducting workshops, providing information on careers, connecting students to internship and scholarship opportunities, and speaking on policy matters. In her capacity at UCF, Thomas is shaping a global initiative with education and training for both students and professionals.

Until the fall of 2005, she was a Senior Foreign Service Officer with the rank of Career Minister. Previously, she served as the U.S. Ambassador to Senegal (1999–2002); Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Information Agency; Public Affairs Counselor at the American Embassy in Brussels, Belgium; Cultural Attaché at the American Embassy in Athens, Greece; and Director of the American Press and Cultural Center in Istanbul, Turkey.

Her numerous awards include The Director General’s Cup for the Foreign Service (the most prestigious honor for former foreign service officers), the U.S. Government’s Superior Honor Award and a Meritorious Honor Award for her work in connection with the first Persian Gulf War. She holds a B.S. in International Business from Simmons College (Massachusetts) and an M.A. in Public Diplomacy from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, as well as four honorary doctorates.

From 2003 to 2006, she served on the Senior Advisory Group of the United States European Command, which was then headed by General James Jones.

A member of the American Academy of Diplomacy, she currently is on the board of the Cultural Academy for Excellence, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra and the Institute for International Education. In addition to English, she speaks French, Greek and Turkish.

"It is my honor to accept the invitation from the Founder and President of ACE Health Foundation, Pooja Chandra Pama to join the work of the ACE Global Leaders of Excellence Network. Your track record speaks for itself. I am pleased to be associated with an organization committed to concrete actions to uplift talented global women.

While the Chinese proverb about women holding up half the sky is well known, my life experience with individuals like those with the ACE Global Leaders Network is living proof that women hold up the entire sky. The ACE Health Foundation’s work is confirmation that with heightened self-esteem and opportunity, women will transform the world."

- U.S. Ambassador Harriet L. Elam-Thomas (ret.)