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Assistant secretary of state visits UW-Madison, PEOPLE students

March 25, 2014

Linda Thomas-Greenfield, U.S. assistant secretary of state for African affairs, will visit Madison on Friday, March 28 for a series of events including a conversation with middle- and high school students involved in the PEOPLE Program and an address on U.S. Africa policy.

Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Linda Thomas-Greenfield

Thomas-Greenfield’s appointment last year by President Obama to be the nation’s top Africa diplomat culminates a 32-year State Department career. A graduate of UW–Madison, she previously served as secretary general of the Foreign Service, U.S. ambassador to Liberia, and in multiple capacities in the State Department in Washington and U.S. embassies in Jamaica, Nigeria, Gambia, Kenya, Pakistan, and Switzerland.

“Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield has pursued a brilliant career in the American Foreign Service after earning a master’s degree in political science and African studies at UW–Madison, and completing her dissertation field work in Liberia in the late 1970s,” says Emeritus Professor Crawford Young, who was her UW graduate adviser. “She is one of the highest-ranking Badgers in the Obama administration.”

Thomas-Greenfield, who rose to her position from an African-American community in the rural South, requested a chance to speak with pre-college students from the Madison area who might find access to higher education a particular challenge.

During her UW–Madison visit, she will meet with high school and middle school students and educators who participate in the award-winning PEOPLE program, which offers pre-college preparation to students of color and low-income students, many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college.

Thomas-Greenfield’s lecture, titled “U.S. Africa Policy,” will be held at 4 p.m. on Friday, March 28 in the Alumni Lounge of the Pyle Center, 702 Langdon St., Madison. The event is free and open to the public.

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