Ambassador Rufus Gifford

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Former United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark

Political Speakers
Geopolitics & Foreign Policy

Ambassador Rufus Gifford: Biography at a Glance

  • Served as United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark
  • Subject of the award-winning documentary series “I Am the Ambassador”
  • Finance director of the 2009 Democratic National Committee
  • Senior staff member of President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign 



Rufus Gifford served as United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Denmark from August 2013 - January 2017.

As Ambassador, his personal mission was to transform a historically great relationship to meet the challenges of the future by engaging Danes – especially younger Danes – on bilateral and global issues. Determined to modernize diplomacy and build back trust in institutions, Gifford pursued a never-before-seen public diplomacy strategy, allowing cameras to document his life and his work. The award-winning documentary series titled I am the Ambassador was bought by Netflix and iTunes and is currently being aired on television in over 10 countries. CNN called him the “anti-Trump”, the Wall Street Journal deemed him a “viral sensation”, and The Atlantic called him a “rock star”. Gifford was knighted by the Queen of Denmark in January 2017.

Following graduation from Brown University in 1996, Ambassador Gifford left his native Massachusetts to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. In 2004, at the age of 29, Ambassador Gifford took the bold step to leave the entertainment industry and enter the world of politics. Two months into an unpaid internship on John Kerry’s Presidential Campaign, Ambassador Gifford was hired as the Deputy Finance Director for the Western States based in Los Angeles.

Following the 2004 election, Ambassador Gifford started his own political consultancy business and worked for numerous U.S. Senators and California politicians before meeting then-Senator Barack Obama in January 2007. He worked on President Obama’s 2008 presidential race in California and moved to Washington, DC following Obama’s historic election. There he took the fundraising reins of the Democratic National Committee in 2009 as Finance Director. At the start of the 2012 election, Ambassador Gifford moved to Chicago to help launch the re-election campaign of the President. He served as a Senior Staff member and Finance Director of the campaign – ultimately responsible for its more than billion dollar budget.


Foreign Policy arrow-down
  • Public Diplomacy - How Ambassador Gifford aggressively used all forms of media and open engagement to build the human bond between Danes and Americans.

  • Political Climate in Europe - Ambassador Gifford's perspective on how American and European political trends mirror each other.

  • American Diplomacy in the Age of Trump - How a reduced investment in American Diplomacy weakens the stature of the US in the world.







American Politics arrow-down
  • Money in Politics - How Ambassador Gifford became the most successful political fundraiser in the history of American politics.

  • Ten Years with Obama - Ambassador Gifford is one of the longest serving Obama political/government operatives, having worked for him from January 2007 - January 2017.



Social Issuesarrow-down
  • All Things LGBT - Ambassador Gifford was on the front lines of the Marriage Equality movement in Massachusetts in 2004 and was one of the most high profile LGBT appointed officials in the Obama Administration.

  • Diversity - Ambassador Gifford discusses the value of diversity to business, government and society more broadly.

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