Thomas R. Pickering : biography
Thomas Reeve "Tom" Pickering (born November 5, 1931), is a retired United States ambassador. Among his many diplomatic appointments, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations from 1989 to 1992.
Born in Orange, New Jersey, Pickering is the son of Hamilton Reeve Pickering and Sarah Chasteney Pickering. He graduated from Rutherford High School in Rutherford, New Jersey., Rutherford High School. Accessed July 7, 2007. "Career diplomat and ambassador Thomas H. Pickering and presidential speechwriter Peggy Noonan are among those honored as part of this tradition."
Education and Service in the Navy
He began attending Bowdoin College in Brunswick, Maine in 1949 with plans to join the ministry and graduated cum laude in 1953 with high honors in history and is a member of Theta Delta Chi and Phi Beta Kappa. He then earned a Master's degree from the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts. Upon graduation from Tufts, he was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship and attended the University of Melbourne in Australia where he received a second master's degree in 1956. In addition to the honorary doctorate-in-laws degree that Bowdoin awarded him in 1984, Pickering has been the recipient of 12 honorary degrees.
Before joining the State Department, Pickering served on active duty in the United States Navy from 1956 to 1959, and later served in the Naval Reserve where he reached the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Pickering lives in Fairfax County, Virginia. His wife, the former Alice Jean Stover, whom he married in 1955, died in 2011. The couple had two children, Timothy and Margaret.
Fluent in French, Spanish, and Swahili, he has a working knowledge of Russian, Hebrew, and Arabic.
After the State Department
Following his retirement from the Foreign Service in 2001, Pickering served as Senior Vice President for International Relations at Boeing until 2006. Currently he is serving as independent board member at the world's biggest pipe company, OAO TMK, in Moscow. At present, he is affiliated with the International Crisis Group, and oversees their international actions as a co-chair. In addition, he is Chairman of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, Chairman of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy, Chairman of the American Academy of Diplomacy and a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Global Panel Foundation based in Berlin, Prague and Sydney.
Following his retirement, the U.S. Department of State Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program was renamed the Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellowship Program to honor Pickering. Fellowships are funded by the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation (WWNFF). In May 2004, Bowdoin awarded Pickering the Bowdoin Prize, the highest award that the College bestows upon its graduates.
Pickering serves on the board of directors for CRDF Global and the American Iranian Council, an organization devoted to the normalization of relations between Iran and America. He is currently a member of the Constitution Project's bipartisan Liberty and Security Committee. He is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the Henry L. Stimson Center board of directors as well as the Advisory Board of Eurasia Group, the political risk consultancy firm. He serves on the Guiding Coalition of the nonpartisan Project on National Security Reform. Pickering also serves as an Advisory Board member for the Partnership for a Secure America.
In 2012, along with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, Pickering helped lead a State-Department-sponsored panel investigating the recent Attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
His four-decade-long career in Foreign Service included ambassadorships in Russia (1993–1996); India (1992–1993); United Nations (1989–1992); Israel (1985–1988); El Salvador (1983–1985); Nigeria (1981–1983); and Jordan (1974–1978). Additionally, he served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 1997 to 2000. He holds the rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.
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