Diversifying Diplomacy

My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar

Harriet L Elam-Thomas

The firsthand account of Harriet Elam-Thomas, or "the little Elam girl” from Boston, whose decades-long effort as a woman of color distinguished her as a successful diplomat.
Publication date:
January 2018
Publisher :
Potomac Books, Inc.
Illustration :
19 photographs, 6 illustrations
Format Available     Quantity Price
ISBN : 9781612349503

Dimensions : 230 X 150 mm
Available in 3-4 weeks


• A firsthand, never-been-told account of Harriet Elam-Thomas and her experiences as a diplomat
• The author shares the challenges and successes in her career which will inspire and demonstrate to young men and women that they, too, could reach the highest ranks of the diplomatic service
• Harriet Elam-Thomas would distinguish herself with a diplomatic career at a time when few colleagues were people of color
• Elam-Thomas has connections with higher-ups in politics and education

Today, diverse women of all hues represent this country overseas and elsewhere. Some have called this development the "Hillary Effect.” But well before Hillary Clinton, our most recent female secretary of state, there was Madeleine Albright, the first woman to serve in that capacity in 1997, and Condoleezza Rice, who served in that post from 2005 until 2009. And, beginning at a more junior posting in the Department of State in 1971, there was "the little Elam girl” from Boston. Diversifying Diplomacy: My Journey from Roxbury to Dakar tells the story of Harriet Elam-Thomas, a young black woman who beat the odds and challenged the status quo. Inspired by the strong women in her life, she followed in the footsteps of the few women who had gone before her in her effort to make the Foreign Service reflect the diverse faces of the United States. The youngest child of parents who left the segregated Old South to raise a family in Massachusetts, Elam-Thomas would distinguish herself with a diplomatic career at a time when few colleagues looked like her. Her inspiring memoir is a firsthand account of a decades-long career in the U.S. Department of State's Foreign Service, recounting personal tales of making U.S. foreign policy, culture, and values understood abroad. Elam-Thomas served as a United States ambassador to Senegal (2000-2002), and retired with the rank of Career Minister after 42 years as a diplomat. Diversifying Diplomacy reveals the journey of this successful woman, who went on not only to shoulder some of the world's heftier problems, but also to ensure that new shepherds of honesty and authenticity would trace her international footsteps for generations to come.