A Conversation with Ambassador Thomas Pickering

PSA and USIP held a discussion with Ambassador Thomas Pickering on Capitol Hill to discuss current events facing American foreign policymakers in an increasingly challenging world on March 8th.

Ambassador Thomas Pickering is Vice Chairman of Hills & Co., International Consultants, having retired in 2006 as a Boeing senior vice president for International Relations and a member of the Boeing Executive Council. He joined Boeing in January 2001 upon his retirement as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs.

Mr. Pickering served as U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs since May 1997. Prior to that, he served briefly as the president of the Eurasia Foundation. Mr. Pickering held the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service. He has served as U.S. ambassador to the Russian Federation, India, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan. Mr. Pickering also served on assignments in Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

From 1989 to 1992, he served as Ambassador and Representative to the United Nations in New York. He also served as Executive Secretary of the Department of State and Special Assistant to Secretaries William P. Rogers and Henry A. Kissinger from 1973 to 1974. Between 1959 and 1961, he served in the Bureau of Intelligence and Research of the State Department, in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and from 1962 to 1964 in Geneva as political adviser to the U.S. Delegation to the 18-Nation Disarmament Conference.

In 1984, he was awarded an honorary doctor-in-laws degree from Bowdoin College, and has received similar honors from 12 other universities. In 1983 and in 1986, Pickering won the Distinguished Presidential Award and, in 1996, the Department of State’s highest award – the Distinguished Service Award. He is a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies and the Council on Foreign Relations.


This was the fourth event of the PSA/USIP Congressional Briefing Series – topics on International Conflict Resolution and Prevention, an educational program designed to provide congressional staff opportunities to engage with leading experts and fellow Capitol Hill staffers in bipartisan forums. The program aims to build cross-party relationships, encourage bipartisan dialogue, and equip staff with new perspectives on critical issues in the international conflict resolution and prevention field.


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