Ambassador Tom Shannon exemplifies the best of American diplomacy. I was privileged to work with Tom during my time as Secretary of State, and relied upon his good advice and deep knowledge of foreign policy anchored in thirty years of service under six presidents.
In particular, Tom’s experience and understanding of the people, politics, and history of Latin America helped us negotiate some of our biggest challenges in the region, from supporting democracy in Honduras to combatting drug-related violence across Central America to promoting broader cooperation on clean energy, economic development, and human rights. He also served with distinction and advanced America’s values and security as our Ambassador to Brazil, and capped his career as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, overseeing the full portfolio of global challenges and helping navigate the most complex and critical relationships around the world.
In addition to Tom’s achievements as a distinguished member of the Foreign Service, Tom was the kind of diplomat who always had his door open. His office was filled with a constant stream of young Foreign Service Officers seeking his advice and counsel. He understood that mentoring the next generation of diplomats was as important as the diplomacy itself.
Tom has served our country with excellence and dedication in senior posts under Democratic and Republican administrations alike, continuing in the Foreign Service’s proud tradition of nonpartisan expertise and professionalism.
His steady presence will be missed at the State Department and in the national security community, and I thank him, and his wife, Guisela, for their selfless service throughout his remarkable career.