Remarks by Director General Thomas-Greenfield at Retirement Ceremony for Ambassador Kennedy

Remarks by Director General Linda Thomas-Greenfield
Flag Ceremony — Ambassador Laura E. Kennedy
Friday, July 12, 2013

As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you.  Good afternoon, distinguished guests, and welcome to the Treaty Room for the flag presentation ceremony for the United States (Former) Ambassador to the Conference on Disarmament, the Honorable Laura E. Kennedy.  We are very pleased today to welcome Ambassador Kennedy’s husband John Feeney, also a fellow diplomat, and her two sons Patrick and Martin.  We are also very privileged to have both Under Secretary Bill Burns, and Acting Under Secretary Rose Gottemoeller in attendance today to help celebrate and officiate this Flag Ceremony for a very distinguished and well-deserving diplomat.

Ambassador Kennedy has dedicated her life to public service.  Her Foreign Service career has taken her across the globe, to dozens of countries, and she has had the opportunity to touch millions of lives in the process.  Her career has been marked by numerous policy achievements for the United States, policy achievements abroad, and also helped shape the future of the Foreign Service and how we conduct global diplomacy.  She has been recognized numerous times for her outstanding accomplishments.  She has received Presidential Performance, Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards, and also the Distinguished Honor Award by Secretary of State Colin Powell.  Her track record here at the Department of State is impressive.

Her assignments in Washington included serving as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State with responsibility for Southern Europe, Central Asia and the Caucasus; Director of the Senior Seminar (State Department’s interagency leadership program); and Deputy Commandant of the National War College.  During earlier assignments she worked on both the China and Soviet desks, was Deputy Director of the Office of Syria, Jordan, Lebanon and Palestinian Affairs, and also served as Office Director for Central Eurasia and Caspian Energy.

In addition to her domestic assignments, she served two tours at U.S. Embassy Moscow, a tour in Turkey, and a detail to Operation Provide Comfort following the first Gulf War during the Kurdish refugee crises.  She also served twice in Vienna, first with the U.S. delegation to the conventional arms controls talks, and later as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to the UN in Vienna.  She subsequently served as Charge at what was then the newly created U.S. Embassy in Armenia, and later became the U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan.

Most recently, Ambassador Kennedy served as the U.S. Permanent Representative to the Conference on Disarmament.  During this time, she also concurrently served as the U.S. Special Representative for the Biological and Toxin Weapons Convention (BWC) issues.

Ambassador Kennedy, as your incredible track record proves, your commitment to public service and diplomacy is worthy of celebration and praise.  I am honored to be able to take part in this ceremony today.  Your dedication to your country has been an inspiration to all of us here at the Department.  On behalf of all of your staff at posts overseas, your colleagues and friends in Washington, and all of your colleagues here at the Department of State, I congratulate you on a remarkable career.

Now, it gives me great pleasure to present your husband John as a token of our appreciation for his service to the people of the United States – the American flag.

Now for Ambassador Kennedy – I present you with your Ambassadorial flag for the dedicated service you provided as U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan.

 

End of Remarks.