Profiling Courage: The Legacy of Ambassador Terence A. Todman
On February 1, the anniversary of the Greensboro lunch counter sit-in, the U.S. Department of State honors Ambassador Terence A. Todman who courageously fought to desegregate the Department’s dining facilities in Virginia. Todman, the first African-American diplomat to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, also served as U.S. Ambassador to Chad, Guinea, Costa Rica, Spain, Denmark, and Argentina.
Ambassador Todman was a visionary leader who promoted human rights and social justice both at home and abroad. In 1957, as a student at the Foreign Service Institute, he challenged policies of deeply entrenched systemic racism at the State Department. His principled objection to the segregation of Department-leased dining halls led to an eventual policy change toward integration. Panelists will discuss how Ambassador Todman’s legacy inspires current efforts to build a more just, equitable, and therefore, more effective institution.
Maryum Saifee is a senior advisor in the Secretary’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Ms. Saifee started her Foreign Service career in Cairo at the start of the Arab uprisings in 2011. She later served in Baghdad during the U.S. military withdrawal from Iraq and spokesperson for the U.S. Consulate in Lahore. In Washington, she was a policy advisor in the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, the Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues, and the Secretary’s Office of Religion and Global Affairs.
Prior to joining the State Department, she was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Jordan and an AmeriCorps Volunteer in Seattle. She also consulted for the United Nations Development Program, Acumen Fund, and the Ford Foundation. In 2018, Maryum took a sabbatical from the State Department to pursue a Council on Foreign Relations International Affairs Fellowship where she worked with the Human Rights Foundation. In her personal capacity, she also led a 30-person task force on State Department reform as a senior visiting fellow at the Truman Center for National Policy. She is a 2019 Presidential Leadership Scholar and a 2021 Women inPower Fellow. Maryum is a graduate of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs with a focus on human rights issues in the Middle East.
Ambassador Gina Abercrombie-Winstanley, a 30-year diplomat, is the Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer for the Department of State and was the longest serving U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Malta. Through a series of senior positions that included advising the Commander of U.S. cyber forces on our foreign policy priorities, expanding our counterterrorism partners and programs as Deputy Coordinator for Counterterrorism, and Coordinating the largest evacuation of American citizens from a war zone since WWII, her professional life has played out almost daily in international media.
She began her formal work in teaching and leadership development as Chairwoman for Middle East Area Studies at the prestigious Foreign Service Institute where U.S. diplomats are trained. Earlier in her career, she served in Baghdad, Jakarta, and Cairo before taking on the position of Special Assistant to the Secretary of State for the Middle East and Africa. Her Middle East assignments include election monitoring in the Gaza Strip and an extraordinary assignment where she actively supported gender equality in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as the first woman to lead a diplomatic mission there. In addition to the State Department, she has held senior positions at the Defense Department and at the National Security Council. Prior to that, she was a fellow on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for the then Ranking Member, Senator Joseph Biden. Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley is the recipient of the Maltese Order of Merit, Department of State Meritorious and Superior Honor Awards, including “For acts of courage during an attack on the U.S. Consulate General, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on December 6, 2004 by al-Qa’ida terrorists.”
Over the years, Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley has been a keynote speaker for a variety of organizations including IESAbroad, The Cleveland City Club, TrueBlue Inclusion, Harvard University, The University of Denver, The University of Malta, and Johns Hopkins University. She is an in-demand panelist and moderator at some of the most respected international think tanks including The German Marshall Fund, CSIS, The Brookings Institution, The World Affairs Council, and The Council on Foreign Relations on issues ranging from U.S. Mid-East Policy, how diversity and inclusion improve U.S. foreign policy making, cyber security challenges, and counterterrorism. She is a strong proponent of excellence through inclusion across organizations and strives to break down barriers to the full participation of women and minorities. She was Ambassador-in-Residence at Oberlin College for 2020 and served as the Co-Chair of the Diversity in National Security working group for the Biden-Harris campaign.
Ms. Abercrombie-Winstanley, a Cleveland native, has degrees from The George Washington University and The Johns Hopkins University and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. She has been an active Board member on several organizations committed to excellence in educating and leadership development including the Forum for Education Abroad, College Now Greater Cleveland, and the International Career Advancement Association. She also served on the boards of the Cleveland Museum of Contemporary Art and the Middle East Policy Council. She sings with the Washington Performing Arts Society and has been published in the New York Times Opinion and The Foreign Service Journal. She is the co-author of two papers published in the New York Review of Science Fiction on “Diplomacy in Star Trek” and “The Representation of Disability in Star Trek.” In 2019, she was voted into the American Academy of Diplomacy.
Terence A. Todman, Jr. is a retired attorney. Over his career, he has been associated with a number of organizations, including, the New York law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison (Paul Weiss), The Chase Manhattan Corporation (Chase), and, for a brief period, The Office of the Legal Advisor in the U. S. Department of State. His professional life includes serving as Managing Principal of a consulting firm on sustainable economic development, the Executive Director, North America, of a Kids’ Environmental Education Project for International Art and Technology Cooperation Organization (ArTech), and a founding partner and President of Strategic Wealthcare Partners. Terence A. Todman, Jr. joined Chase as a Senior Associate Counsel, became the General Counsel for the Chase Manhattan Private Bank, and then, the Managing Director and executive responsible for Chase’s Global Trust and Fiduciary business. While with Chase, he founded and served as the Managing Editor of The Chase Journal, a quarterly publication on U.S, international and cross-border wealth management and wealth transfer issues and was a member of a number of affiliated Boards and Committees. Terence A. Todman, Jr. began his professional legal career with Paul Weiss, as an associate specializing in corporate and international law. He received a J.D. from Columbia University School of Law and a B.A. from Brown University. Terence A. Todman, Jr. has served on a number of Boards, including, The Black Filmmaker Foundation, Covenant House, The International Trust Company Association, The Benjamin M. Cardozo School of Law, The Jazz and Contemporary Music Program of New School University and the Columbia University School of Dentistry. Terence A. Todman, Jr. was admitted to the bar in New York.
Leola Calzolai- Stewart is the director of THE AMERICAN DIPLOMAT premiering on PBS on February 15th. She brings over 15 years experience in documentary film and video and is co-founder of the Virginia- based production company, FLOWSTATE Films. THE AMERICAN DIPLOMAT, Calzolai- Stewart’s directorial debut, was awarded two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and a development grant from the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. The project was selected as part of Black Public Media’s 2019 360 Incubator+ program and Leola is one of Firelight Media’s Documentary Lab Fellows for 2019-21. Calzolai- Stewart co-produced and edited the feature documentary, THE LAST SONG BEFORE THE WAR, distributed by Kino Smith, and edited the feature documentary DEAR WALMART which premiered in May 2019 as part of FilmFest DC’s Justice Matters competition and is distributed by Virgil Films. She has an MA in Law and Diplomacy from Tufts University’s Fletcher School and a BA in international affairs from the University of California, Davis. Calzolai- Stewart studied film at the Tshwane Institute of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa.
Chris Richardson is a former U.S. diplomat, immigration attorney, and General Counsel and COO of BDV Solutions. Richardson served in Nigeria, Nicaragua, Pakistan, and Spain as a U.S. diplomat.
Richardson won several awards including Meritorious Honors Awards and a Superior Honors Award. Richardson has written several well-received opinion columns for the New York Times, Los Angeles
Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, The Hill, Foreign Policy Magazine, the Nation and many more publications regarding immigration policy and the issue of diversity at the State Department. He has
also been interviewed by the MSNBC, NPR, the New York Times, CNN and CBS. A native of South Carolina, Richardson is a graduate of Duke University School of Law and graduated summa cum laude from Emory University in 2003. He is also the co-author of the Historical Dictionary of the Civil Rights Movement (2014) and lectured on the American Civil Rights Movement at universities
and colleges across the globe.
Susan Cleary is a Senior Foreign Service Officer and the Acting Director of the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD). In her career, she has specialized in cultural and public diplomacy serving at U.S. embassies in Ireland, Ukraine, Russia, Spain, and Poland, and has worked in Mexico and Uganda. Throughout her career Susan has initiated unique collabora