Azita Raji is an American diplomat, banker, and philanthropist. She was nominated by President Obama in 2014 to serve as the United States ambassador to Sweden. She was the first female U.S. ambassador to Sweden, and the first Iranian-born American to serve as a U.S. ambassador. In 2016, Ambassador Raji was nominated for the State Department’s highest award for a non-career ambassador, the Sue M. Cobb Prize for Exemplary Diplomatic Service. Her articles on diplomacy and foreign policy have appeared in Newsweek, Foreign Policy, and The Wall Street Journal, and she is a sought-after keynote speaker. Ambassador Raji is a Senior Fellow at the Institute of European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and a Social Impact Fellow at the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley. Read More >
Prior to her appointment as ambassador, Ms. Raji served as National Finance Vice Chair and Chair of the Swing State Victory Fund for the Obama campaign, as well as advisory board member of the Democratic National Committee. She was later appointed by President Obama as a Commissioner of The President’s Commission on White House Fellows, one of America’s most prestigious programs for leadership and public service, founded in 1964 by Lyndon B. Johnson.
As a philanthropist, Ms. Raji has leveraged her expertise in finance and investments, business model innovation, scaling, and strategy to drive social impact. She currently chairs the North American panel for the Global Challenges Foundation 2017 prize competition, and has served in leadership roles on boards of national non-for-profit organizations, including Trustee and Member of the Executive & Investment Committees, Barnard College, Columbia University; Advisory Board, Columbia Business School Tamer Center for Social Enterprise; Founding Co-Chair, Athena Center for Leadership Studies at Barnard College, Columbia University; Director, National Partnership for Women & Families. She was appointed as a Commissioner of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery.
In a prior career as an international investment banker in New York and Tokyo, Ms. Raji held senior executive positions on Wall Street. She has extensive expertise in global financial markets and European and emerging market fixed income and structured derivatives. She is a member of the Bretton Woods Committee, an elite organization which supports international finance institutions such as the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, and has served as a member of the Economic Advisory Council at Center for American Progress.
Ambassador Raji is a recipient of the 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, Ambassador Raji was recognize 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.
Ms. 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 brings a global perspective and a strategic and innovative approach to her work, having lived, studied, and worked in the Middle East, Western Europe, and the Far East, and is fluent in several languages. Read Less ^