Connecting the Local to the Global: HRM Welcomes United States Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield
In a sign of flourishing relevance, and a mere week after a visit from the Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Hudson River Museum was proud to welcome another prominent global figure through its doors. On Sunday, December 5, US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made a dedicated visit to the HRM to view the exhibitions and collection, where she was greeted by HRM Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky and City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano.
During the afternoon at the Museum, the Ambassador spent considerable time speaking with the Junior Docents and HRM Staff to learn about the young leaders’ training, and to discuss their plans for future college studies and career aspirations—which range from medicine to business and marketing to studio art—while sharing some of her own career path. Currently serving as Representative of the United States of America to the United Nations and Representative of the United States of America in the Security Council of the United Nations, Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s distinguished Foreign Service career includes serving as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, an ambassadorship to Liberia, and postings in Switzerland (at the United States Mission to the United Nations, Geneva), Pakistan, Kenya, The Gambia, Nigeria, and Jamaica. In Washington D.C., she has served as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of African Affairs, and as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.
“It was an honor to greet Linda Thomas-Greenfield during her visit to the Hudson River Museum,” said Mayor Mike Spano. “All in Yonkers appreciate the world-class experiences available to us at the HRM, and it’s exciting that the word has gotten out to leaders such as the US Ambassador to the United Nations.”
HRM Junior Docent Anduela Thaqi, a senior at Yonkers Middle High School, has aspirations of becoming a neuroscientist. The interdisciplinary focus of the Museum and the opportunity to grow personally attracted this budding scientist to the teen leadership program, which is now in its 27th year and has been the recipient of numerous honors, including national recognition by The White House with a Coming Up Taller Award in 2008.
Following a discussion of Palmer Hayden’s The Artist Who Paints for the Ambassador—the painting is on view as part of African American Art in the 20th Century and addresses the social and economic challenges of Black artists in America—Thaqi reflected on the experience of presenting to a visitor of Thomas-Greenfield’s stature: “Being a Junior Docent has offered me the chance to meet a lot of important people while confidently expressing my knowledge. I was excited to meet Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield because of her interest in our Program. Her taking an interest in Junior Docents made me feel intellectually confident and capable of being a future leader myself. She was very modest, considering her high position, and I felt appreciated and heard when she individually got to know us.”
Masha Turchinsky stated, “We are deeply gratified to know that the Hudson River Museum’s intentional work on issues of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging resonated with the Ambassador. One of the HRM’s greatest strengths is delving into issues that matter deeply to our community, and then connecting those ideas and people to broader national and global conversations. Ambassador Thomas-Greenfield’s visit inspires all of us to keep growing and to relentlessly pursue that vision.”
Above: HRM Director and CEO Masha Turchinsky, together with City of Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano and the HRM Junior Docents welcomed US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield. Artwork pictured behind them is Beauty from Ashes, 2021, by Jamel Robinson.
Below: US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield with HRM Junior Docent Anduela Thaqi discussing a work by Palmer Hayden, The Janitor Who Paints, ca. 1930, oil on canvas. Smithsonian American Art Museum, gift of the Harmon Foundation.