A few months prior to the holding of important national elections in the country, President Obama announced today that he will be designating Harry Thomas as the new US ambassador to the Philippines. I think he would be the first African-American to serve the post in Manila.
Soon after Obama made the announcement, outgoing US Ambassador Kristie Kenney emailed this statement to journalists in Manila:
It has been an extraordinary honor and privilege to serve as the Ambassador of the United States to the Republic of the Philippines for more than three and a half years. Working with so many Filipinos, from all walks of life, has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I have come to deeply appreciate not just the warmth and friendship of Filipinos, but also their determination to make their country, region, and world a better place for their children and grandchildren. It has been a true pleasure to live in this beautiful country, and to lead the U.S. Embassy in efforts to partner with the government and people of the Philippines for the greater good of Americans and Filipinos alike.
Now, for personal and professional reasons, I need to plan my return to the United States. So it is with great pleasure that I learned that President Obama has named my successor.
According to the White House announcement, Thomas is a senior US diplomat. He served as as executive secretary of the State Department, among others:
Harry K. Thomas, Jr. is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service and served most recently as Director General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources. He previously served as a Special Assistant to the Secretary and Executive Secretary of the Department. Thomas, who joined the Foreign Service in 1984, served as U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005. He also served in the White House as the Director for South Asia at the National Security Council from 2001 to 2002. His other postings include: New Delhi, India; Harare, Zimbabwe; Kaduna, Nigeria; and Lima, Peru. He has served as Senior Watch Officer, Deputy Director, and Director of the State Department Operations Center; Special Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs; and Staff Assistant to the Assistant Secretary for African Affairs. Thomas holds a bachelors degree from the College of the Holy Cross.