WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Ambassador Thomas A. Shannon Jr., Counselor of the U.S. Department of State, will travel to San Salvador, El Salvador as well as San Pedro Sula and Tegucigalpa, Honduras, from July 22-24.
Counselor Shannon will tour repatriation centers in San Salvador and San Pedro Sula to observe the repatriation process for unaccompanied minors and family units. In both countries, he will meet with civil society organizations and community leaders working on issues related to undocumented migration, including that of unaccompanied children.
Shannon will visit the Honduran-Guatemalan border in Corinto, Honduras, and meet with Border Police, immigration officials, and the Red Cross to observe the border crossing that thousands of migrants transit each year. He will meet with senior government officials in El Salvador and Honduras to follow up on earlier discussions about the increase in unaccompanied minors migrating to the United States.
Shannon was appointed Counselor of the Department by Secretary John Kerry on December 24, 2013. Ambassador Shannon had served briefly as Senior Advisor to the Secretary following his return in September from Brazil, where he served as United States Ambassador for nearly four years. Shannon is only the seventh Foreign Service Officer to hold the position of Counselor since World War II, and the first in 32 years.
Prior to his tenure in Brazil, Ambassador Shannon served as Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs from 2005 to 2009. He served as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for Western Hemisphere Affairs at the National Security Council from 2003-2005. From 2002 to 2003, he was Deputy Assistant Secretary of Western Hemisphere Affairs at the Department of State, where he was Director of Andean Affairs from 2001 to 2002. He was U.S. Deputy Permanent Representative to the Organization of American States (OAS), with the rank of Ambassador, from 2000 to 2001.
Shannon also served as Director of Inter-American Affairs at the National Security Council from 1999 to 2000, as Political Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, from 1996 to 1999, and as Regional Labor Attache at the U.S. Consulate General in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 1992 to 1996.
During his thirty year career as a Foreign Service officer, Shannon also served as Special Assistant to the Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia, Brazil from 1989 to 1992, as Country Officer for Cameroon, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe from 1987 to 1989, and as a Consular/Political Rotational Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City, Guatemala, from 1984 to 1986.
Shannon has a degree from the College of William and Mary and a Masters and Doctorate from Oxford University. He speaks Spanish and Portuguese.