Azita Raji Hometown: Sweden

Azita Raji is an American diplomat, banker, investor, and philanthropist. She was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2014 to serve as the first female United States ambassador to Sweden, and the first Iranian-born American to serve as a U.S. ambassador. In 2016, Ambassador Raji was nominated for State Department's highest award for a non-career ambassador, the Sue M. Cobb Prize for Exemplary Diplomatic Service. Raji speaks and writes on diplomacy, national security, and foreign policy. Her articles and podcasts have appeared in Newsweek, Wall Street Journal, War on the Rocks, Foreign Policy, and Center for New American Security. Raji is Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies, as well as Guest Lecturer, at the University of California at Berkeley. She serves on the advisory board of Foreign Policy for America, a nonpartisan advocacy organization in Washington D.C. “committed to defending diplomacy and standing up for principled American engagement in the world”. Prior to her role as ambassador, Raji served in national leadership positions in American politics, including as National Finance Vice Chair and Chair of Swing State Victory Fund for the Obama campaign. She was subsequently appointed by President Obama as Commissioner of The President's Commission on White House Fellows, “one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service”. She continues her engagement in politics today, serving as advisor and fundraiser for Democratic candidates. In a former career as an investment banker, Raji held senior executive positions on Wall Street. She has since leveraged her expertise in finance and global capital markets, business model innovation, scaling, and strategy to drive social impact, by serving in leadership roles on non-for-profit national boards. Raji is a current member of the Bretton Woods Committee and serves as Social Impact Fellow at Haas Business School’s Center for Responsible Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Her previous roles include Trustee and member of the Executive Committee of Barnard College, Founder of Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Advisor at Columbia Business School Tamer Center for Social Enterprise, Advisor at Economic Advisory Council of Center for American Progress, and Commissioner of Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. Raji has received numerous awards and recognitions for her public service. She is recipient of 2017 Ellis Island Medal of Honor, “recognized by both Houses of Congress as one of the nation’s most prestigious awards honoring distinguished Americans”. In 2016, Raji was recognized as an honoree of “Great Immigrants: The Pride of America”, the Carnegie Corporation of New York’s “annual recognition of inspiring naturalized U.S. citizens, who have made notable contributions to the progress of American society”. Raji received a B.A. in Architecture and French from Barnard College, Columbia University, and an M.B.A. in Finance from Columbia Business School, and is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA). She has lived, studied, and worked in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the Far East, and is fluent in several languages