Joseph Michael DeThomas
Term of Appointment:
Joseph M. DeThomas took the oath of office as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Estonia on November 9, 2001, and he presented his credentials to the President of the Republic of Estonia Arnold Rüütel on December 11 of that year.
During his tenure, a number of important new developments have occurred in U.S.-Estonian relations, capped by Estonia's invitation to NATO. In addition, he has traveled extensively in Estonia, visiting all 15 Estonian counties within a year of his arrival.
Ambassador DeThomas worked on European and global security issues for much of his diplomatic career, which began in 1977.
His most recent assignment, prior to becoming U.S. Ambassador to Estonia, was as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of Nonproliferation.
He has also served as Director of the Office of European Union and Regional Affairs and as an Office Director in the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs. He has also held a number of posts abroad, including Deputy Chief of Mission in Vienna and Addis Ababa.
He has received several Department of State Superior Honor Awards, and a Meritorious Honor Award for earthquake rescue work in Mexico. His Embassy in Ethiopia was given a group superior honor award for its role in rescuing 28,000 Ethiopian Jews during the Ethiopian civil war. His unit in Tehran was also awarded a group citation for valor.
The Ambassador earned both Bachelor's and Master's degrees from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a Master's degree in Public Administration from Harvard University. He is a distinguished graduate of the National War College.
Ambassador DeThomas was born in Easton, Pennsylvania. He speaks German, Spanish, Farsi, and some Estonian, which he continues to study.
Released on August 13, 2003