Ambassador Charles Rivkin permanently departed post on Tuesday, November 19, 2013 following his nomination by President Obama to serve as Assistant Secretary of the State Department’s Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs. DCM Mark A. Taplin has assumed charge.
U.S. Ambassador to France and Monaco
Charles H. Rivkin
Charles H. Rivkin currently serves as the United States Ambassador to France and Monaco. He was sworn into office by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on August 3, 2009, following unanimous confirmation of his nomination by the United States Senate.
Rivkin is the youngest Ambassador in nearly 60 years to serve as his country’s senior representative in France. Embassy Paris is America’s first and one of its largest diplomatic missions, which now has six constituent posts throughout France and represents over 50 federal agencies and departments.
According to the Department of State Office of the Inspector General’s report in May 2012, Ambassador Rivkin has put a new emphasis on support for U.S. exports of goods and services into France. The report calls Rivkin a "dynamic and visionary non-career Ambassador," and credits him with expanding the U.S. Embassy’s public diplomacy activities, particularly through his use of social media. Rivkin introduced social media to Embassy Paris, establishing its first ever Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Ambassador Rivkin made outreach to French youth one of his key priorities and has connected the Embassy to the next generation of leaders throughout France, including in underserved communities often referred to as the banlieues.
This pioneering effort was achieved with the help of American icons, television and film personalities, musicians and prominent government officials. In 2011, Ambassador Rivkin broadened his outreach efforts and founded the annual “Washburne Award for Innovation in Diversity,” which honors French and American companies that promote diversity in the workplace.
Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Rivkin worked in the media sector for over 20 years where he served as President and CEO of award-winning entertainment companies such as The Jim Henson Company and Wildbrain. Rivkin helped engineer the sale of The Jim Henson Company to EM.TV in 2000 for nearly $1 billion. His contribution to the television landscape has influenced generations of viewers, and in 2009 Rivkin was named one of the 100 Most Creative People in Business by Fast Company.
Ambassador Rivkin spent his early childhood in Luxembourg, Senegal, and The Gambia where his father, William R. Rivkin, was the United States Ambassador under Presidents John Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. In honor of his father, Ambassador Rivkin and his family have proudly presented the U.S. State Department’s annual Rivkin Award, since 1968 encouraging “intellectual courage and constructive dissent” among officers in the American Foreign Service. The award was created in part with the help of Charles Rivkin's godfather, Hubert H. Humphrey.
Ambassador Rivkin received his bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1984, graduating with distinction in political science and international relations. Rivkin received his M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1988. He currently resides in Paris with his wife, Susan Tolson, and their children, Elias and Lily.
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