Elizabeth Allen Approved for Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs

Sixteen Republican Senators joined all Democrats Tuesday to confirm Elizabeth Allen as Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. Republicans supporting Allen’s nomination included Sens. James Risch (R-ID), ranking minority member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), ranking minority member of the State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee, and Susan Collins (R-ME), vice chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The final vote tally was 66-33. A list of the entire roll call vote can be found here.

Allen has been serving as the Senior Official in charge of the public diplomacy bureaus since April 4 of 2022. On January 23, 2023, President Biden announced his intent to nominate Allen for the office of under secretary.

The Public Diplomacy Council of America commended President Biden on February 5 for her nomination, noting Allen’s outstanding accomplishments and experience in both major PD bureaus. We recalled that as head of Global Public Affairs she “led a ground-breaking program to modernize and expand and improve strategy, tools and tactics of messaging, including the innovative use of digital content and videos that visually and dramatically express America’s ideals and by creating the office’s first Telegram channels that convey America’s idealistic messages to the world – including into Russia and other nations ruled by despotic regimes.”

Allen enters office with connections to senior administration officials as well. She served as White House deputy communications director during the Obama administration from 2014 to 2015.

The office of under secretary has been vacant for a little more than five years. Irwin Steven Goldstein was fired by President Trump on March 13, 2018, in the wake of Secretary Rex Tillerson’s dismissal. He had entered office on December 4, 2017.

While several officials acted as under secretary in that interim period, none took such direct interest in the function as Allen has. She has traveled extensively, participated in key deliberations and sustained active communication both in-house and public.

Allen oversees three bureaus at State: Global Public Affairs, Educational and Cultural Affairs, and the Global Engagement Center. Her large policy office began an organizational overhaul and technology upgrade several years ago.  Allen has supported the effort.

This article was prepared by Joe B. Johnson, with assistance from Advocacy Chair Michael McCarry and Executive Editor Michael Korff.