Global Americans and the Canadian Council for the Americas presents “Two gringos with questions”, an interview series featuring political and cultural leaders from across the Americas. Every month, Your hosts, Global Americans Executive Director Chris Sabatini and CCA President Kenneth Frankel, two gringos who focus on and work in Latin America and the Caribbean, will ask policymakers, business leaders and cultural movers and shakers about their views on the region and its future.
For the first episode of the year and third of the series, Chris and Ken interviewed Ambassador Thomas Shannon Jr., former Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs. Ambassador. Shannon has had an extensive career, spanning 35 years, at the Department of State. Before he became Under Secretary, Ambassador Shannon was the Senior Advisor to the Secretary following his return from Brazil, where he served as United States Ambassador for nearly four years. Ambassador Shannon is only the seventh Foreign Service Officer to hold the position of Counselor since World War II, and the first in 32 years.
From 1999 to 2000 Ambassador Shannon served as Director of Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council, from there he was U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), with the rank of Ambassador. Later—after a bunch of other positions in State and the NSC—he served as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2005 to 2009. His final posting was as Ambassador to Brazil from 2010 to 2013, after which he returned to be the counselor to the Secretary of State.
To discuss U.S.-Latin America relations past, present and future, your hosts talked to Ambassador Shannon on the importance of U.S. presence in the region and his secrets for surviving thousands of meetings and briefings.