Washington, DC – Foreign Policy for America is deeply saddened by the passing of former Ambassador Azita Raji. A highly respected diplomat, Ambassador Raji was both the first Iranian-born American to serve as an ambassador of the United State as well as the first female U.S. ambassador to Sweden. She was a valued member of the FP4A Advisory Board since joining in 2019.
Known for her kindness and brilliance, Ambassador Raji was an outstanding representative of U.S. values and priorities abroad. During her tenure as ambassador, Raji was nominated for Sue M. Cobb Prize for Exemplary Diplomatic Service, State Department’s highest award for a non-career ambassador.
Prior to her diplomatic service, Ambassador Raji had an impressive career as a banker, an investor, and a philanthropist. She was leader in her field, a senior executive at JP Morgan, and a member of the Bretton Woods Committee. She was a trustee and member of the Executive Committee at Barnard College.
Ambassador Raji was an early supporter of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign and went on to serve as his National Finance Vice Chair.
After completing her tour of duty as ambassador she became a Senior Fellow at the Institute for European Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and was a frequent writer and commentor on U.S. relations with European countries, NATO, and economic policy. She served as a Commissioner of the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery and the President’s Commission on White House Fellows.
Born in Tehran, where she was a competitive downhill skier and chess player, Ambassador Raji moved to the United States at the age of 17. She graduated from Barnard College at Colombia University and received a Master of Business Administration in Finance from Colombia Business School. She loved languages and spoke several fluently.
Ambassador Raji will be remembered fondly by our team at FP4A, who had the great privilege of working with her, and we send our condolences to her family and those who had the pleasure of knowing her.