Calamity in Greece & the Eurozone

February 18th: PSA hosted a small off-the-record round table dinner with Amb. Thomas Miller (ret.), PSA Board member and former U.S. Ambassador to Greece, to discuss implications of Greece’s recent election and economic challenges in southern Europe. This was a closed event for CPP alumni.


In February 2015, the anti-austerity Syriza party dominated elections in Greece. The new Prime Minister, Syriza leader Alexis Tsipras, has vowed to renegotiate the terms of Greece’s loans and reverse six years of harsh austerity measures – measures that gave rise to more assertive, leftist political views which ushered in Syriza. Struggling with high unemployment, slow growth, and dissatisfied masses, Greece wants to renegotiate the terms of its massive bailout packages. Although most of the Greek debt is held by European countries, it is clear that the stand-off between Greece and the Eurozone poses great risk to the global economy. Additionally, Greece’s recent attempt to block EU sanctions against Russia confronts U.S. national security interests and points toward a confrontational road ahead for Greece.

Thomas Miller is currently the president and CEO of IESC. Prior to joining IESC, Tom was president and CEO of the United Nations Association of the U.S. (2009) and from 2005-08, served as CEO of Plan International, a large NGO that works in 66 countries to improve the lives of children in developing countries. A 29-year career diplomat, Tom’s experience in the Foreign Service spanned many continents. From 2001-04, he served as U.S. ambassador to Greece, where he focused on the security concerns of the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens and domestic counter-terrorism. From 1999-2001, as U.S. ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina, he worked on helping the country recover after a devastating war. From 1997-99, he was special coordinator for the Cyprus negotiations (rank of ambassador). He was also posted to Thailand, Greece two other times, and the State Department in Washington, where he focused on North Africa, the Middle East, and counter-terrorism issues. In 2011, Tom was appointed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be the chair of the board of the International Commission on Missing Persons, an internationally acclaimed organization that identifies missing persons in many countries by using DNA-matching and other techniques.

Tom serves on the boards of D.A.R.E., Partnership for a Secure America, and Lampsa. He was also recently selected to serve on AARP’s National Policy Council. He is the recipient of many honors and awards as well as honorary degrees. A native of the Chicago area, Ambassador Miller has five degrees from the University of Michigan: a PhD in political science (1975), master’s degrees in both political science (1973) and Asian studies (1972), and a bachelor’s degree in political science (1969). In addition, in 2003 he received an honorary doctorate when he was the university’s commencement speaker.