Gordon D. Giffin
Ambassador to Canada
Gordon D. Giffin became the thirty-fourth Ambassador of the United States to Canada on September 17, 1997 upon presentation of his credentials to Governor General Romeo LeBlanc. In the first six months of his tenure, Ambassador Giffin hosted President Clinton in Vancouver for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation forum. Ambassador Giffin also hosted U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright in Ottawa for a series of bilateral meetings with the Canadian Foreign Minister and Prime Minister -- the first stand alone visit of a U.S. Secretary of State in over a decade. Ambassador Giffin has also spent much of his first year as U.S. Ambassador personally visiting every region of Canada meeting with leaders from the business, governmental, academic and cultural communities.
The Ambassador was nominated for his position by President William Jefferson Clinton on July 1, and confirmed by the full United States Senate on July 31, 1997. Ambassador Giffin's preparation for the position is unique among U.S. envoys to Canada in that he spent seventeen years of his childhood growing up in Canada.
Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Giffin practiced law as a senior partner in the firm of Long, Aldridge & Norman with offices in Atlanta, Georgia and Washington, D.C. Mr. Giffin's practice focused on administrative, regulatory, and litigation matters including substantial work in energy regulatory and telecommunications fields for eighteen years. This work included numerous rate proceedings and drafting of the landmark state statute deregulating natural gas. Mr. Giffin also worked in the government procurement field and argued the leading case on state liability in government procurement before the Supreme Court of Georgia.
Prior to joining Long, Aldridge & Norman, Mr. Giffin served as Director of Legislative Affairs and Chief Counsel to United States Senator Sam Nunn. Mr. Giffin also held the position of adjunct professor of law at Emory University School of Law. From 1979 to 1984, he was with the law firm of Hansell and Post.
Mr. Giffin represented the Committee to Host the Democratic National Convention in Atlanta in 1988 and chaired the Site Selection Committee for the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. He was General Counsel to both the 1992 and the 1996 conventions. Mr. Giffin was a Presidential Elector on the ballot in Georgia in 1992 and 1996.
Mr. Giffin served as the Treasurer of Senator Sam Nunn's Campaign Committee for two decades. In 1984, Mr. Giffin joined Senator Nunn and Governor Clinton in founding the Democratic Leadership Council, on whose board he served until 1996. In 1992, he was Chairman of the Georgia Clinton primary campaign and the Clinton Gore General Election Campaign. Following the Presidential election in 1992, he served on the White House Transition Team as Deputy Director of Personnel. In the 1996 re-election campaign of the President, Mr. Giffin served as Senior Advisor on the South as well as Chairman of the Clinton-Gore effort in Georgia.
Complementing his life-long love of sports, the Ambassador was actively involved with the Atlanta Olympic Games Committee, focusing particularly on government involvement in staging the 1996 Centennial Olympic Games in Atlanta. Mr. Giffin served on the Board of Directors of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation from 1993 to 1997. His civic involvement included service on the boards of The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, The Trees Atlanta Foundation, The Atlanta Historical Society and The Atlanta Ballet. On three occasions Mr. Giffin was named one of the "One Hundred Most Influential Georgians" by Georgia Trend magazine.
Born in Springfield, Massachusetts, Gordon Giffin moved to Canada before his first birthday. He lived in MontrŽal and Toronto for 17 years, attending Valois Park Elementary School in Pointe Claire and Richview Collegiate in Etobicoke. Mr. Giffin earned a B.A. from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina in 1971 and a J.D. from Emory University School of Law in Atlanta, Georgia in 1974. Mr. Giffin is married to Patti Alfred Giffin of Columbia, South Carolina, and they have one daughter, Kelley.
It is also noteworthy that for the two decades prior to this appointment, Mr.Giffin resided in the southern part of the United States. He is only the second U.S. envoy to Canada in history to have come from the southern part of the United States. (The first, Ambassador W. Walton Butterworth of Louisiana, served from 1962-1968.)
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