Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

The Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is currently a top-10 ranking position[1] in the U.S. Department of State that is intended to help ensure that public diplomacy is practiced in combination with public affairs and traditional diplomacy to advance U.S. interests and security. The Under Secretary oversees three bureaus at the Department of State: Educational and Cultural Affairs, Public Affairs, and International Information Programs. Also reporting to the Under Secretary are the Office of Policy, Planning and Resources for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs and the Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy.

United States
Under Secretary of State
for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs
Seal of the United States Department of State
Michelle Giuda

since February 12, 2019
NominatorPresident of the United States
Inaugural holderEvelyn S. Lieberman
WebsiteOfficial Website

The position was created on October 1, 1999, during the Clinton administration after Title XIII, Section 1313 of the Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998 (112 Stat. 2681-776). Section 2305 of the Act (112 Stat. 2681-825) increased the number of Under Secretaries of State from five to six. Subdivision A of the Act, also known as the Foreign Affairs Agencies Consolidation Act of 1998, abolished the United States Information Agency and the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency.

The duties of Under Secretary are currently being filled in an acting capacity by Michelle Giuda.[2][3][4][5]

Full appointments to the position require confirmation by the Senate.

From October 1, 1999, through August 29, 2019, the Under Secretary has been without a confirmed appointment 35.8% of the days. The average time between confirmed appointments is been 289 days (or over 9.5 months). Looking at the last three administrations, the office was without a confirmed Under Secretary for 37.2% of the Bush Administration, 21.8% of the Obama Administration, and 89.4% of the Trump Administration (as of August 29, 2019).[6]

List of Under Secretaries of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Name In office Image President(s) served under
Evelyn S. Lieberman October 1, 1999 – January 19, 2001 Bill Clinton
Charlotte Beers October 2, 2001 – March 28, 2003 George W. Bush
Margaret D. Tutwiler December 16, 2003 – June 30, 2004 George W. Bush
Karen Hughes September 9, 2005 – December 14, 2007 George W. Bush
James K. Glassman June 10, 2008 – January 15, 2009 George W. Bush
Judith McHale May 26, 2009 – July 2011 Barack Obama
Kathleen Stephens February 6, 2012 – April 4, 2012
Barack Obama
Tara Sonenshine April 5, 2012 – July 1, 2013 Barack Obama
Richard Stengel February 11, 2014 – December 7, 2016 Barack Obama
Bruce Wharton December 8, 2016 – July 2017
Barack Obama
Donald Trump
Steve Goldstein December 4, 2017 – March 13, 2018 Donald Trump
Heather Nauert March 13, 2018 – October 10, 2018
Donald Trump
Michelle Giuda February 5, 2019 – Present
Donald Trump


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