Martin J. Silverstein

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Martin J. Silverstein, Ambassador of the United States of America, ret.

Martin J. Silverstein (born 1954) is an American attorney and diplomat.[1] He served as the United States Ambassador to Uruguay under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005.

White House Oval Office meeting- President George W. Bush, NSA Advisor Condoleeza Rice, Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein


Martin J. Silverstein[1] served as a senior member of the presidential transition of Donald Trump.[2] He has practiced law for nearly four decades beginning his legal career in Philadelphia. Since leaving his post as United States Ambassador to Uruguay in 2005,[3] he has been working as an attorney in New York, Texas and Washington, D.C.[4] as senior counsel with an international law firm, practicing Global and Corporate & Securities law.[5] President George W. Bush nominated Silverstein as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to the Oriental Republic of Uruguay just prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. A Trustee of the University of Pennsylvania, Silverstein also sits as a Judge Pro Tempore in the First Judicial District of Pennsylvania.[1]

Diplomatic career[edit]

While serving as United States Ambassador to Uruguay from 2001 to 2005, he fostered positive bilateral relations[6] allowing Uruguayan President Batlle to "use his good relation with U.S. President George W. Bush to help obtain $1.5 billion in credit to stave off default," pending receipt of an IMF loan. He also engineered the reopening of U.S. markets to banned Uruguayan commodities and fostered the signing of an Open Skies Agreement and the first Bilateral Investment Treaty of the Bush Administration.[7]

Silverstein served as a Delegation Member to the MERCOSUR 4 plus 1 Council on Trade and Investment negotiations, a Delegation Member of the U.S.-Uruguay Joint Commission on Trade and Investment,[8] and a member of the U.S. Presidential Delegation to the Uruguayan presidential inauguration.[9]

Silverstein joined the President of the United States in Jerusalem, Israel as a member of the United States Honorary Delegation celebrating the founding of the State of Israel[10] and participated as a delegate on the Ukraine Presidential Election IRI Observation Mission.[11]

Education and Legal Career[edit]

Silverstein was born in New York City in 1954.[1][3] He received an LL.M. from the University of Pennsylvania Law School in 2008, a J.D. from Temple University Beasley School of Law (senior member of Law Review) in 1979, and a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers College in 1976.[1][3][12]

He is a member of the bars of New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, U.S. Court of International Trade, U.S. Tax Court and the Third Circuit Court of Appeals. He is also a member of the Texas Bar College, a recognition society of the best trained attorneys in Texas.[13][14]

Silverstein is the current appointee of United States Senator Pat Toomey to the Federal Judicial Nomination Advisory Panel (E.D. Pa.). He previously served United States Senators Rick Santorum and Arlen Specter in the same role on the then titled ‘Federal Judicial Nominating Commission’.[15]

Reflecting the confidential opinion of members of the Bar and Judiciary, Silverstein maintains the highest possible AV Preeminent rating for legal skills, integrity and professional excellence under the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating System and Client Review Rating System.[16]

Awards and Recognition[edit]

The United States government and Secretary of State Colin Powell decorated Ambassador Silverstein with the Superior Honor Award Medal,[17] an uncommon recognition for a non-career ambassador. The U.S. government also awarded Silverstein the Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service, presented by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, for "performance with exceptional dedication and distinction."[18]

The President and Legislature of Uruguay decorated Silverstein with the Medalla de la Republica Oriental del Uruguay, rank of Gran Oficial. Silverstein remains the only American citizen in history to receive Uruguay's highest honor.[18]

Silverstein was awarded the Citizens Commendation for Bravery by the Philadelphia Police Commissioner for his courageous assistance to the Philadelphia Police Department in the apprehension and detention of two criminals.[19][20]

He has received the Legion of Honor from the Chapel of Four Chaplains, the Certificate of Merit for Service to Veterans from the United States Congress and twice received the Maimonides Award from Magen David Adom.[19] [21]

In 2016, the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Texas and the President of the Texas State Bar recognized Silverstein for his outstanding delivery of legal services to low-income Texans and admitted him to the Pro Bono College of the State Bar of Texas.[22]

Presidential Transition[edit]

Silverstein served as a senior member of the Transition Team for President Donald Trump. Within President-elect Appointments he played a crucial role in the final screening and vetting of candidates as Chair of the ‘Tiger Team’ interview and evaluation process of the top-ranking officials for nearly every federal department, agency and service branch, personally interviewing nearly 250 candidates. Silverstein is known to have a close relationship with the Trump and Kushner families having attended the 2009 wedding reception of Ivanka (nee’ Trump) and Jared Kushner.[23][24]

Other Activities[edit]

Silverstein's bipartisan appeal resulted in successive Governors of two different political parties (Tom Corbett-R and Tom Wolf-D) commissioning him to serve sequential terms as a Trustee of the (Pennsylvania) Public School Employees' Retirement System (PSERS).[25][26] Twice confirmed by the Pennsylvania State Senate, he is currently in his second full term at PSERS where he chairs the Elections Committee and serves on the Investment Committee and Corporate Governance Committee.[27] The fifteen Trustees are an independent administrative board of the Commonwealth with exclusive investment power and management control of the $54 billion public pension fund.

At the University of Pennsylvania, in addition to being a University Trustee, Silverstein also serves on the Board of Overseers at the School of Nursing Science,[28] the Board of Governors of the University Club at Penn [29] and as a Penn Alumni Interviewer.[30] He also sits on the Board of Visitors [31] at Temple University Beasley School of Law. In Uruguay, Silverstein served as Chairman emeritus of the Fulbright Scholar Program.[32]

Silverstein volunteered as an AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer with the Corporation for National & Community Service serving Habitat for Humanity in North Philadelphia.

He served as a (Class II, weapons certified) Reserve Police Officer in Elizabeth, New Jersey for 12 years and also served as a Constable and Special Deputy Sheriff.[3]

He is a member of the Council of American Ambassadors[33] and a long-time supporter of the Northwest Women's Shelter in Washington, D.C.[34]


He speaks Spanish and Hebrew.[12] He is married and has six children.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d e "Martin Silverstein". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  2. ^ "Ex-Congressman Sweeney of Clifton Park vets Trump staff". Times Union. 
  3. ^ a b c d e Embassy biography
  4. ^ Law firm profile
  5. ^ GT. "Law Firm profile". 
  6. ^ [1] Archived 2013-02-22 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. ^ "Former Uruguay president Jorge Batlle dead at 88". CBC News. Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  8. ^ ADEQ, Creation, design and maintenance by Nuber N. Nievas and Nahir L. Lois, Webmaster,. "Documento sin título". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  9. ^ "Elaine Chao Heads U.S. Delegation at Uruguayan Presidential Inauguration". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  10. ^ "05/27/08, Honors and Other Things - Almanac, Vol. 54, No. 34". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  11. ^ "Report: Ukraine Presidential Election" (PDF). 
  12. ^ a b Council of American Ambassadors Archived 2012-03-11 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. ^ "Professionalism". Texas Bar College. 
  14. ^ "American Ambassadors Members". 
  15. ^ "Class Notes". Temple Esq. Summer 2015: 5. 
  16. ^ "Experience & credentials listing". Martindale-Hubbell. 
  17. ^ "Ambassador Martin J. Silverstein - Biographical Data". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  18. ^ a b "Council of American Ambassadors". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  19. ^ a b "Silverstein, Martin J.". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  20. ^ "Commendations, Awards and Rewards". Philadelphia Police Department. Directive 6.1: 6.1 -10. 
  21. ^ "Hon. Martin J. Silverstein". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  22. ^ "Pro Bono College". State Bar of Texas. 
  23. ^ "Vetting Trump Staff". Times Union. 
  24. ^ "Kushner Ally". Devex. Retrieved 2017-01-31. 
  25. ^ "Pennsylvania Public School Employees’ Retirement System". Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. 93 edn: 16. 
  26. ^ "Pennsylvania Public School Employees' Retirement System". Comprehensive Annual Financial Report. 96 edn: 18. 
  27. ^ "Trustee assignments" (PDF). PSERS. 
  28. ^ "Board of Overseers". Penn Nursing Science. 
  29. ^ "Board of Governors". University Club at Penn. 
  30. ^ "Penn Alumni Interview Program". UPenn Alumni. 
  31. ^ "Board of Visitors". 
  32. ^ "Homepage | Fulbright Scholar Program". Retrieved 2017-01-04. 
  33. ^ "Members". Council of American Ambassadors. 
  34. ^ "Serving Women in the DC Area Since 1981". The Northwest Center. 
Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Christopher C. Ashby
United States Ambassador to Uruguay
Succeeded by
Frank E. Baxter