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Name: Thomas, Harry
Current Position: Previous Ambassador

Harry K. Thomas, Jr., President Barack Obama’s choice for U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service who presented his credentials April 27, 2010.

Born June 3, 1956, in New York City’s Harlem neighborhood, Thomas grew up in Queens and attended College of the Holy Cross, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1978.
He joined the Foreign Service in 1984. His early career postings included New Delhi, India; Harare, Zimbabwe; Kaduna, Nigeria; and Lima, Peru. His duties included senior watch officer, deputy director, 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. 
From 2001 to 2002 Thomas served in the White House as the Director for South Asia at the National Security Council. He then was U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005, followed by special assistant to the Secretary of State and executive secretary of the State Department.
Prior to being named ambassador to the Philippines, Thomas served as director general of the Foreign Service and director of human resources. 
While working as director general, Thomas had to handle an angry town hall meeting of Foreign Service officers who objected to the State Department’s plans during the Bush administration for Iraq, including ordering people to serve at diplomatic posts. Thomas tried to quell the anger by explaining the department was not getting enough volunteers to go to the war torn country.
When one longtime Foreign Service officer called an assignment to Iraq “a potential death sentence,” producing considerable applause, Thomas responded: “Okay, thanks for your comment,” and ended the meeting.
Thomas speaks Spanish, Hindi and Bangla. He is married and has one daughter.
-Noel Brinkerhoff
The Profile: Harry K. Thomas Jr., ’78 (by Michael Reardon, Holy Cross Magazine)
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