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Patrick Gaspard

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Patrick Gaspard
Patrick Gaspard (profile).jpg
United States Ambassador to South Africa
In office
October 16, 2013 – December 16, 2016
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byDonald Gips
Succeeded byLana Marks
White House Director of Political Affairs
In office
January 20, 2009 – February 1, 2011
PresidentBarack Obama
Preceded byJonathan Felts
Succeeded byDavid Simas
Personal details
Born1967 (age 51–52)
Kinshasa, Congo-Kinshasa
Political partyDemocratic
EducationColumbia University (BA)

Patrick Gaspard (born 1967) is an American former diplomat who currently serves as the president of the Open Society Foundations.[1] Ambassador Gaspard has overseen the Open Society Foundations’ advocacy work in Washington and Brussels, as well as provides strategic direction and oversight to the organization’s programmatic agenda.[1] He became the president of OSF upon the departure of Chris Stone, which was announced in September 2017.[2]

He previously served as United States Ambassador to South Africa.[3] He is a noted Democratic Party political leader and campaign strategist.[4]

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Born in the Democratic Republic of Congo to Haitian parents, Gaspard moved with his parents to the United States when he was three years old.[5] Gaspard graduated from Brooklyn Technical High School[6] and attended Columbia University from 1994 to 1997.


As the U.S. ambassador to South Africa from 2013–16, Gaspard worked to strengthen civil society and worked in partnership with the South African government to develop the country’s healthcare infrastructure and to support innovations in local governance.[7]

He also worked to connect South African entrepreneurs to United States markets; develop clean, renewable, and efficient energy technologies; and to end wildlife trafficking.[1]

Prior to becoming ambassador to South Africa, Gaspard was most well known for his time at the White House and as the day-to-day leader of the Democratic Party headquarters. He served as the Executive Director of the Democratic National Committee from 2011–13, overseeing the party committee's efforts to re-elect President Obama. Previously, he was the Director of the White House Office of Political Affairs for the Obama administration from January 2009-11,[5][8] Associate Personnel Director of President-elect Obama's transition team,[9] and National Political Director of Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.

Gaspard's early career was spent in New York City, including working on the 1988 Jesse Jackson presidential bid and David Dinkins's successful 1989 mayoral campaign.[10]

He went on to serve as a special assistant in the Office of the Manhattan Borough President and special assistant in the Office of Mayor Dinkins, and later, from 1998-1999, chief of staff to the New York City Council.[11] In 2003-2004, he worked for Governor Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign as the National Deputy Field Director, and in 2004, was the National Field Director for America Coming Together.[11]

Gaspard spent nine years as the executive vice president for politics and legislation for the 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers East labor union,[12] the largest local union in America.[13][14]

Ambassador to South Africa

It was leaked in March 2013 that President Obama was planning to nominate Gaspard to the post of United States Ambassador to South Africa.[15] His Senate confirmation hearing was held on July 24, 2013,[16] and he was sworn into the post on August 26, 2013.[17][18]

Gaspard is a close friend of Bill de Blasio, the Mayor of New York City. In September 2013, he brokered a peace between de Blasio and his primary rival Bill Thompson that prevented Thompson from challenging de Blasio in a runoff.[19] Earlier, de Blasio had personally thanked Gaspard in his primary victory speech.[20]

Other activities


Gaspard claimed in a tweet on 13 January 2018 that South Africa has a "more inclusive" constitution than the United States.[23][24]

Personal life

Gaspard is married and has two children.[12]


  1. ^ a b c "Patrick Gaspard, U.S. Ambassador to South Africa, Appointed Vice President of the Open Society Foundations". Open Society Foundations. Retrieved 2017-01-17.
  2. ^ Financial Times (London), October 17, 2017 [1].
  3. ^ Spector, J. Brooks. "US Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, up close and pretty personal". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  4. ^ "Patrick Gaspard". The Washington Post Politics. Retrieved 2019-06-13.
  5. ^ a b Elliott, Stuart (January 18, 2009). "'Obama's People': A Who's Who". The New York Times Magazine. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  6. ^ "The Buzz - April 13, 2018 - Brooklyn Tech Alumni Foundation". Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  7. ^ Spector, J. Brooks. "US Ambassador Patrick Gaspard, up close and pretty personal". Daily Maverick. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  8. ^ Politico (2011). Gaspard to DNC, Dillon to re-elect; retrieved April 4, 2011.
  9. ^ "Obama Names Transition Team". U.S. News & World Report. November 5, 2008. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  10. ^ McLeod, Courtney (September 2006). "Rising Stars: 35 under 40; The next generation of political leaders in New York". City Hall News.
  11. ^ a b "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts". 2013-06-27. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  12. ^ a b Stein, Sam (2009-01-04). "Patrick Gaspard: Obama's Glue Man". HuffPost. Retrieved 2019-06-26.
  13. ^ Sherman, Jake (June 28, 2010). "White House aide failed to disclose $40K payout". Politico. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  14. ^ McCallister, Jared (June 27, 2008). "Haitian American labor leader Patrick Gaspard in key job with Barack Obama". Daily News. Archived from the original on August 11, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2010.
  15. ^ "Patrick Gaspard, top Obama aide, headed to South Africa as ambassador - theGrio". theGrio. 2013-03-04. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  16. ^ "Congressional Testimony of Patrick H. Gaspard Ambassador Designate to the Republic of South Africa Before the Committee on Foreign Relations United States Senate" (PDF). July 24, 2013. Retrieved 2019-06-17.
  17. ^ VP Biden (Archived) [@VP44] (26 August 2013). "Today at the @whitehouse, VP will ceremonially swear-in Patrick Gaspard as U.S. Amb. to South Africa. Stay tuned for a photo. @USEmbPretoria" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  18. ^ "Haitian-American Patrick Gaspard was sworn as US Ambassador to South Africa". 2013-10-24. Archived from the original on 2013-10-24. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  19. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2013-09-18. Retrieved 2013-09-18.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  20. ^ "Bill de Blasio campaign driven by political mix of former Clinton and Obama aides, U.S. ambassador to South Africa, and local talent". Daily News. New York.
  21. ^ Board of Trustees Central European University (CEU).
  22. ^ Governance Paris Peace Forum.
  23. ^ "Patrick Gaspard on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
  24. ^ "South Africa To Meet US Embassy Over Trump "Sh*thole" Comments". HuffPost South Africa. 2018-01-15. Retrieved 2018-08-18.
Political offices
Preceded by
Johnathan Felts
White House Director of Political Affairs
Succeeded by
David Simas
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Donald Gips
United States Ambassador to South Africa
Succeeded by
Jessye Lapenn
This page was last edited on 18 November 2019, at 09:26
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