From among the legions of outstanding diplomats who have served the United States since the middle of the 20th century, the following 25 individuals were chosen to exemplify the highest standards of the profession. The list is by no means intended to be exhaustive, or to suggest that others are not equally, if not more, deserving of such attention.
Alan P. Larson (1949- )
After joining the Foreign Service in 1973, Alan Larson first served in Sierra Leone and Zaire and, through successful completion of advanced graduate studies in economics as well as a series of challenging assignments, became one of the Department of State's resident experts on energy and other critical economic issues. In 1990 he was appointed as American Ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris, and subsequently in 1996 became Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. In 1999 President Clinton appointed Larson as Under Secretary of State for Economic, Business, and Agricultural Affairs, the first professional Foreign Service officer to hold that position. Larson’s exceptional skills as a leader and negotiator of key international issues, including agricultural trade, biotechnology and energy security, were further recognized when he was reappointed to the same senior position in 2001 by President George W. Bush and became the only senior official to be carried over between the two administrations. Larson retired from the Foreign Serivce as a career ambassador in 2004.