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The Honorable James Gadsden

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Information about The Honorable James Gadsden

Profile image of The Honorable James Gadsden

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Foreign Ambassador

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Fall Colors
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Around The United States
Favorite Quote:
We Can Do That.

Birthplace

Born:
3/12/1948
Birth Location:
Charleston, South Carolina

Profession

Category:
PoliticalMakers
Occupation(s):
Foreign Ambassador

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Fall Colors
Favorite Food:
All Food
Favorite Time of Year:
Fall
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Around The United States
Favorite Quote:
We Can Do That.

Birthplace

Born:
3/12/1948
Birth Location:
Charleston
See how The Honorable James Gadsden is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

United States Ambassador (retired) James I. Gadsden was born on March 12, 1948 in Charleston, South Carolina. His father, James David Gadsden, was a janitor; his mother; Hazel Gaines Gadsden, a maid and housewife. After receiving his B.A. degree cum laude in economics from Harvard University in 1970, Gadsden enrolled in Stanford University and graduated from there in 1972 with his M.A. degree in East Asian Studies. Following graduation, he was awarded a mid-career fellowship from 1984 to 1985 at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs to study economics.

Gadsden’s career with the U.S. Department of State began in 1972 as a political officer. He was then assigned to the U.S. Trade Center in Taipei in 1974 as a market research officer supporting U.S. export promotion programs. He continued promoting U.S. exports as a commercial officer at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, Hungary until 1979. In 1980, he became a staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. From 1981 to 1997, Gadsden served as the European Communities desk officer at the State Department, economic and political officer at the U.S. Mission to the European Communities in Brussels, Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. Embassy in Paris, and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Budapest. Returning to the United States in 1997, Gadsden was named Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and then served as Special Negotiator for Agricultural Biotechnology in 2001.

After being nominated by President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell and confirmed by the U.S. Senate, Gadsden was sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland on October 24, 2002. In that position, he directed the implementation of U.S. foreign policy and U.S. government operations in Iceland. Returning to the United States in 2005, Gadsden was appointed as Deputy Commandant and International Affairs Advisor at the National War College in Washington, D.C. until he retired in 2007. After retirement, he was recalled to serve as Senior Advisor for European Affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. In 2008, he became Diplomat-In-Residence and Lecturer in Public and International Affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is currently Senior Counselor for International Affairs at the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation in Princeton, New Jersey.

Gadsden is married to Sally Freeman Gadsden. They have two adult sons.

James I. Gadsden was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 11, 2013.

See how The Honorable James Gadsden is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of James Gadsden's interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - James Gadsden lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes his mother's family background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes his maternal grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - James Gadsden talks about his mother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - James Gadsden describes his father's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - James Gadsden reflects upon the lack of information about his family history
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - James Gadsden talks about his father's experience in World War II and how his parents met
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - James Gadsden describes his parents' personalities and who he takes after
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes his earliest childhood memories
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - James Gadsden talks about the role Denmark Vesey and the free black middle class played in the history of Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes growing up in 1950s Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes race relations in 1950s Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - James Gadsden talks about the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - James Gadsden lists the public schools he attended in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - James Gadsden recalls his favorite teachers at Charles A. Brown High School in Charleston, South Carolina, including HistoryMaker James Clyburn
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - James Gadsden talks about his childhood reading habits in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - James Gadsden talks about the Corsairs, HistoryMaker James Clyburn's student organization at Charles A. Brown High School in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes his decision to transfer away from Charles A. Brown High School in Charleston, South Carolina
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - James Gadsden talks about his decision to transfer to Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York in 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes the intensive high school program he attended during the summer of 1963 at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - James Gadsden talks about entering Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York in 1964
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - James Gadsden describes the academic programs at Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - James Gadsden describes the students at Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about his classmates at Elisabeth Irwin High School (LRSI) in New York, New York
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - James Gadsden recalls his decision to attend Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes the people he met at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts, including HistoryMaker Archie C. Epps, III
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - James Gadsden talks about studying economics at Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes the most interesting professors and guest lecturers he had Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - James Gadsden talks about switching his program of study from economics to Chinese studies
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - James Gadsden talks about enrolling in graduate school for Chinese Studies at Stanford University in Stanford, California
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about being recruited into the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of East Asian Affairs
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - James Gadsden recalls how he met his wife, Sally Freeman Gadsden, in 1970 in Youngstown, Ohio
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - James Gadsden talks about his and his wife's decision to get married in 1974
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes working at the U.S. Trade Center in Taipei, Taiwan from 1974 to 1978
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - James Gadsden recounts transferring from Taipei, Taiwan to Budapest, Hungary
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - James Gadsden describes his wife's role at the U.S. Embassy in Hungary
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - James Gadsden recalls working in Communist Hungary in the late 1970s
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes working for the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Economics and Business Affairs
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - James Gadsden reflects upon treatment while working at the U.S. Department of State
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - James Gadsden describes his experience working as the European Communities Desk Officer for the U.S. Department of State
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - James Gadsden recalls becoming the State Department's European Communities Desk Officer
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes his experience as the Economic and Political Officer for the U.S. Department of State in Brussels, Belgium from 1985 to 1989
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - James Gadsden recounts his work as Counselor for Economic Affairs at the U.S. embassy in Paris, France from 1989 to 1993
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - James Gadsden reflects upon his diplomatic role during Operation Desert Storm and the international campaign against South African apartheid
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - James Gadsden talks about returning to post-Communist Hungary in 1994 to aid their political transition
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about working in the U.S. embassy to Hungary during the transition to a market economy
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - James Gadsden describes his position as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - James Gadsden talks about serving as the State Department's Special Negotiator for Agricultural Biotechnology
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - James Gadsden describes serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Iceland from 2002 to 2005
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - James Gadsden recounts negotiating the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Iceland
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - James Gadsden reflects upon serving as U.S. Ambassador to Iceland
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - James Gadsden reflects upon the honor and status afforded to a former U. S. Ambassador
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - James Gadsden describes his experience as Deputy Commandant of the National War College in Washington, D.C. from 2005 to 2007
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - James Gadsden recalls the people he met while teaching at the National War College in Washington, D.C., including HistoryMaker Colin Powell
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - James Gadsden talks about briefly working at the United Nations in New York City, in 2007
  • Tape: 8 Story: 4 - James Gadsden explains the United States' decision not to accept the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice
  • Tape: 8 Story: 5 - James Gadsden describes working at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University in Princeton, New Jersey
  • Tape: 8 Story: 6 - James Gadsden reflects upon his role as a mentor to younger Foreign Service Officers
  • Tape: 8 Story: 7 - James Gadsden talks about his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 9 Story: 1 - James Gadsden talks about his children and about how he would like to be remembered
  • Tape: 9 Story: 2 - James Gadsden narrates his photographs