U.S. Embassy Rangoon: Ambassador Derek Mitchell Concludes Burma Assignment (Updated)

Posted: 2:58 am EDT
Updated: 12:38 am EDT
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On March 15, Secretary Kerry issued a statement officially congratulating Htin Kyaw on his election as Burma’s next president. The Aung San Suu Kyi’s confidant is the the country’s first civilian president in five decades.  According to NYT, Aung San Suu Kyi is barred from the presidency by a clause in the military-drafted Constitution that forbids people with foreign relatives from holding the office. She has two sons who are British, as was her husband, Dr. Michael Aris who died in 1999.

On the same day, Ambassador Mitchell and his wife, Min also officially concluded their three and a half years in Burma, according to the embassy’s FB page, “at the same place where they started, with a visit to Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon.”  Ambassador Derek Mitchell served as a special representative to Myanmar (Burma) from August 2011 until he was appointed ambassador in June 2012. President Obama visited Burma, the first by a sitting U.S. president in 2012 and in 2014. hosted then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her visit in 2011, and President Barack Obama in his 2012 (the first by a sitting U.S. president) and 2014 visits.   Correction: Michael E. Thurston was the Chargè d’affaires to Burma in 2011/2012 and was the top representative in country when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Burma in 2011. Apologies for the error.

The new Ambassador to Burma Scot Marciel was sworn-in by Secretary Kerry early this month.

 

 

Below is the U.S. Embassy’s Thingyan video from 2015 featuring Ambassador and Mrs. Mitchell with the mission staff and some photos:

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Related item:

Ambassador Mitchell’s Speech at MISIS (February 22, 2016)

 

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Secretary Kerry Swears-In the Next U.S. Ambassador to Burma Scot Marciel

Posted: 12:16 am EDT
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Ambassador Marciel will succeed Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell who was confirmed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of the Union of Burma on June 29, 2012. We understand that Ambassador Mitchell is expected to depart Rangoon in mid-March after three and a half years at post.

 

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Senate Confirms Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr. for Indonesia

— Domani Spero

 

On November 5, 2013, the U.S. Senate confirmed by unanimous vote Ambassador Robert O. Blake, Jr. as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Indonesia.

President Obama announced Ambassador Blake’s nomination on July 30, 2013. At that time, the WH released the following brief bio:

Ambassador Robert Blake, a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Class of Career-Minister, is Assistant Secretary of State for South Asian Affairs.  Previously, he served as Ambassador to the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka and the Republic of Maldives from 2006 to 2009.  Prior to that, Ambassador Blake served as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi, India from 2003 to 2006.  Previous domestic assignments include: Executive Assistant to the Under Secretary for Political Affairs from 2001 to 2003, Deputy Executive Secretary from 2000 to 2001, and the Turkey Desk Officer from 1998 to 2000.  Overseas assignments include:  Head of the Political Section at the U.S. Embassy Tunis, Tunisia from 1995 to 1998 and Economic Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Algiers, Algeria from 1993 to 1994.  He received a B.A. from Harvard College and an M.A. from John Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, the Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, and three of his wives pose for a photo in front of Dechencholing Palace, in Thimphu, Bhutan, on April 29, 2010. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake, the Fourth King of Bhutan Jigme Singye Wangchuk, and three of his wives pose for a photo in front of Dechencholing Palace, in Thimphu, Bhutan, on April 29, 2010. [State Department Photo/Public Domain]

 

Ambassador Blake is the son of retired Ambassador Robert O. Blake.  Indonesia will be his second ambassadorial posting.  He succeeds Scot Marciel who became Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary at the EAP Bureau in August 2013, after serving for three years as U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Indonesia.

Indonesia is one of those posts in the Foreign Service where very few political appointees dare to go.  In fact, since the 1960, the WH has made 17 ambassadorial appointments to Jakarta. Of those appointments, only one was a political appointee, Paul D. Wolfowitz who served as ambassador there from 1986-1989.

 

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D/SecState on 2012 State Department Awards: 32 of Our Very Best

The State Department hold its Annual Awards Ceremony in November.  The news coverage is usually brief or late, in cable format, emails weeks after the event and in a spread in State Magazine probably sometime in February or March. In all, 32 awards were given in a ceremony attended by Deputy Secretary Bill Burns. He lauded “32 of our very best in the Foreign Service, Civil Service, and Foreign Service National corps” and said:

“You represent diplomacy at its finest and demonstrate that great diplomats can do much more than hold their own at the negotiating table. Great diplomats are innovative, they’re intrepid, and they’re endlessly dedicated. They work beyond embassy walls. They help create jobs and promote trade. And they venture out to the most war-torn corners of the world to act as enduring forces for peace.”

We have previously blogged about the 2012 Annual Awards (see 2012 State Dept Annual Awards: Greatest Achievements in Many Fields, Mostly By Men).

All of the awards include a certificate, signed by the Secretary of State and monetary rewards ranging from $2,000 – $10,000. Many of the awards are sponsored by private donors, who are often former members of the Foreign Service or their families but the nominations go through the State Department process.

Some awards require that a supervisor nominate the candidate. Other awards require that nominations be submitted by the chief of mission.  Still other awards open the nomination from anyone having knowledge of the nominee’s contributions.  An employee or group of employees familiar with the nominee’s work, including supervisors, task forces, and country desks, may also nominate candidates. In almost all instances, the awards require the endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies. Bureau assistant secretary may also submit nominations for chiefs of mission.

The awards program is in the 3 FAM 4800 series. The regs for the Annual Awards are in 3 FAM 4830.

Here are the awardees:

James A. Baker III—C. Howard Wilkins, Jr. Award for Outstanding Deputy Chief of Mission – Recipient:  R. Stephen Beecroft

Former Ambassador to the Netherlands, C. Howard Wilkins, Jr., made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions made by a deputy chief of mission who demonstrates the proficiency, creativity, and overall capacity to serve effectively as ambassadors and as chargé d’affaires in their absence. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Before he was appointed Ambassador to Iraq, Robert Stephen Beecroft was US Embassy Baghdad’s DCM.  A career member of the Foreign Service, he joined Embassy Baghdad as Deputy Chief of Mission on July 14, 2011.  Prior to that, Mr. Beecroft served as Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.  He became Chargé d’affaires upon the departure of Ambassador James Jeffrey on June 1, 2012. We have previously blogged about him here.

Robert C. Frasure Memorial Award – Recipient:  Phillip Carter III

This award honors an individual who best exemplifies the late Ambassador Robert C. Frasure’s commitment to peace and the alleviation of human suffering caused by war or civil injustice. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

We have previously blogged about Ambassador Carter when he was appointed to Abidjan, when his post went on ordered departure, and when his staff was ordered to shelter in place when the bloody battle reached the capital.

Arnold L. Raphel Memorial AwardRecipient:  Paul O. Mayer

This award recognizes an individual in international affairs who embodies the special human qualities exemplified by the late Ambassador Arnold L. Raphel—the mentoring and development of subordinates, especially junior officers. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.

Paul Mayer is currently the DCM at US Embassy Vientiane. If he sounds familiar, it’s because we’ve blogged about him here following the January 2010 Haiti earthquake and about his “K-Visa Delight” (set to the tune of “Afternoon Delight“)  for the Consular Corner Creative Writing Contest.

We have it it good authority that this is one of those awards where the subordinates, at least 18 of them banded as a group and put in the nomination.

Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service – Recipient:  David C. Jacobson

The Sue M. Cobb Award for Exemplary Diplomatic Service is presented to a Non-Career Ambassador who (a) has used private sector leadership and management skills to make a significant impact on bilateral or multilateral relations and (b) has done so in a manner that best reflects the foreign service culture of uncommon commitment in carrying out United States foreign policy through proactive diplomacy. The award is made possible by the generosity of Sue M. Cobb, former U.S. Ambassador to Jamaica. The honoree receives a certificate signed by the Secretary and the Embassy receives $5,000.

We have blogged about Ambassador Jacobson here and here with his curling consuls.

Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development – Recipient:  Scot A. Marciel

The former Ambassador to Iceland, Charles E. Cobb, Jr., made this award possible. It is conferred on two career members of the Department: one member serving under an ambassadorial appointment; and one member at any grade serving abroad in a non-ambassadorial assignment. The award recognizes outstanding contributions toward innovative and successful trade development and export promotion for the United States. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

We have blogged about Ambassador Marciel here and here.

Secretary’s Award for Excellence in International Security Affairs – Recipient: Thomas F. Daughton

The award recognizes individual excellence in the development, negotiation and/or implementation of national policy and solutions to counter country-specific, regional and/or global nonproliferation, counter-proliferation, political-military, arms control, verification, and/or noncompliance challenges facing the United States. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and a $10,000 stipend and the runner-up receives a signed certificate and a $2,000 stipend. (via Wikipedia)

We have blogged about Mr. Daughton a while back in US Embassy Algiers: Diplomatic Kerfuffle Over DCM’s “Rare Candor”

Robert C. Bannerman Diplomatic Security Employee of the Year – Recipient:  Robert Joseph Baldre, Jr.

This award recognizes outstanding contributions made by an employee in the security field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Is he Diplomatic Security’s Chief Financial Officer (DS/EX/CFO)?

Warren Christopher Award for Outstanding Achievement in Global Affairs – Recipient:  Steven G. Gillen

This award recognizes sustained excellence and initiative in the substantive policy areas of oceans, the environment, and science; democracy, human rights, and labor; population, refugees, and migration; and international narcotics and crime.  The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Civil Service Secretary of the Year – Recipient:  Crystal Y. Johnson

This annual award recognizes the high standards of performance which characterize the work of Civil Service Secretaries in the Department and abroad.  It is granted annually to one Civil Service Secretary whose performance is judged by a selection committee to exemplify most clearly these high standards.  The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In addition, the recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department. (via Wikipedia)

Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting – Recipient:  Ryan L. Hass

The Director General’s Award for Impact and Originality in Reporting recognizes the high standards that characterize the reporting of the Department.  The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, $10,000, and an engraved desk set. The recipient’s name is placed on a plaque in the Department.

James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence – Recipient: G. Kathleen Hill

The James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence recognizes leadership, intellectual skills, managerial ability, and personal qualities that most fully exemplify the standards of excellence desired of employees at the mid-career level. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Equal Employment Opportunity Award – Recipient: Gregory S. Stanford

The Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) Award recognizes outstanding contributions toward improving employment opportunities for minorities and women and significant achievements in taking affirmative action to employ and advance in employment qualified minorities and women.  The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Foreign Service National (FSN) of the Year Award

This award recognizes the high standards of performance and the value to the U.S. Government of the special contributions made by Foreign Service National (FSN) employees and foreign nationals serving under a personal services contract or agreement at our missions abroad.  The primary winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. Each of the other five nominees receives a certificate signed by the assistant secretary of the appropriate regional bureau or International Organization (IO) and $2,500.

  • FSN of the Year Award (AF) Recipient: Emmanuel Umar
  • FSN of the Year Award (EAP) Recipient: Chen Er
  • FSN of the Year Award (EUR) Recipient:  Zlatko Moratic
  • FSN of the Year Award (WHA) Recipient:  Sylvia Cabezas

FSN of the Year Award (SCA) Recipient: Farah Naz

D/SecState Bill Burns had this to say about the awardee from the SCA Bureau: “Farah Naz joined Embassy Islamabad more than 25 years ago as an administrative assistant in the Health Unit. Today, she supervises a staff of 56 at the Embassy’s Warehouse—and she’s the first woman to ever serve in that role. Last year, Farah was at the helm of a massive transition that involved moving warehouse operations from one facility on the compound to two separate facilities, off-campus. To make it happen, Farah coordinated with local police, crane and moving vendors, the Regional Security Office, a local guard force, and other agencies to move fifty 20-foot shipping containers filled with goods worth over $53 million from one side of town to the other. And she did it efficiently, cost-effectively, and with a calm, confident smile. Today, we are recognizing Farah’s decades of hard work and dedication as FSN of the year for the Bureau of South and Central Asia.”

Cordell Hull Award for Economic Achievement by Senior Officers – Recipient:  Kurt Tong

The former U.S. Ambassador to Singapore, Steven J. Green made this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. interests in the international economic field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $5,000.

Leamon R. Hunt Award for Management Excellence – Recipient:  Jason A. Brenden

The Leamon R. Hunt Award for management Excellence recognizes outstanding contributions to management operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Swanee Hunt Award For Advancing Women’s Role in Policy Formulation – FS Recipient:  Heera K. Kamboj

The Swanee Hunt Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Improving the status of women globally by advancing their influence in policy formulation is made possible by the former U.S. Ambassador to Austria, the Honorable Swanee Hunt. This award recognizes outstanding achievement in the area of promoting women as participants in the political and economic processes or as policy shapers. The annual amount of the award is $10,000, which will be given in two awards of $5,000 each: (1) To a Foreign Service or Civil Service employee; and (2) To a Foreign Service National at a U.S. embassy or consulate, along with a certificate signed by the Secretary.

Award for Excellence in Labor Diplomacy – Recipient:  Peter T. Shea

This award recognizes excellence in promoting U.S. foreign policy interest in the labor field. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretaries of Labor and State, and $10,000.

Linguist of the Year Award – Recipient: Adedeji E. Okediji

This award recognizes unusually successful acquisition and maintenance of a high level of proficiency in one or more foreign languages and use of the language ability to achieve Department objectives. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Frank E. Loy Award for Environmental Diplomacy – Recipient: Christo Artusio

This award recognizes outstanding achievement in international environmental affairs. The winner receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Thomas Morrison Information Management Award – Recipient:  Todd C. E. Cheng

The Thomas Morrison Information Management Award recognizes outstanding and unique contributions in the information management field. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

We heard that Mr. Cheng “did amazing work for our missions in Tripoli and Benghazi in 2011 and 2012.”

Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Public Diplomacy – Recipient:  Gloria F. Berbena

This award recognizes significant contributions in the field of public diplomacy and the special qualities that reflect the integrity, courage, sensitivity, vision, and dedication to excellence that were so highly exemplified in the life of Edward R. Murrow. The winner of the award receives a plaque presented during the commencement exercises at the Fletcher School, Tufts University. The winner also receives $10,000, which is presented at the annual Departmental Awards Ceremony held at the State Department.

Office Management Specialist of the Year Award – Recipient: Gail M. Cooper

The Secretary of the Year and Office Management Specialist of the year awards recognize the high standards of performance that characterize the service of secretaries in the Civil Service and Office Management Specialists in the Foreign Service. The award is conferred on both a Civil Service and a Foreign Service Office Management Specialist.  b. The winners each receive a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The recipients’ names are placed on a plaque in the Department.

D/SecState Bill Burns on Gail Cooper, the Office Management Specialist for the Regional Security Office at US Embassy Sarajevo: “Last October, as our Embassy in Sarajevo suffered a brief attack, Gail sprung into action and served as a one-person ops center for the post. She worked with Washington and others involved to give regular updates on the situation, coordinated outreach to make sure embassy personnel were safe and accounted for, and eased the fears of understandably concerned family members. In a chaotic and frightening time, Gail was an island of calm. So today, we’re recognizing Gail as the office Management Specialist of the Year, not only for her superior office management abilities, but also for her leadership in the midst of a crisis.”

Luther I. Replogle Award for Management Improvement – Recipient:  Mark J. Cohen

The late Luther I. Replogle, former U.S. Ambassador to Iceland, makes this award possible. It recognizes outstanding contributions to management improvement. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Mary A. Ryan Award for Outstanding Public Service – Recipient:  M. Andre Goodfriend

Selection will be based on the extent to which nominees demonstrate leadership abilities when providing services while assigned domestically or abroad to U.S. citizens. The recipient receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Herbert Salzman Award for Excellence in International Economic Performance – Recipient: Douglas J. Apostol

This award is made possible by the late Herbert Salzman, former U.S. Ambassador to the U.S. Mission to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. It recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing U.S. international relations and objectives in the economic field. The recipient of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Rockwell Anthony Schnabel Aard for Advancing U.S.-EU Relations  – Recipient:  Paul E. Pfeuffer

A supervisor must nominate candidates for this award. Endorsement of the nomination by the chief of mission or principal officer at posts abroad or the appropriate assistant secretary or equivalent from participating agencies, State, USAID, Commerce, and Agriculture, is required. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $5,000.

Innovation in the Use of Technology Award – Recipient:  David C. Schroeder

This award recognizes the suggestion, planning, development, or implementation of an innovative use of technology (both program and administrative) that has substantially contributed to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000.

Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence – Recipient: Joshua D. Glazeroff

This award recognizes outstanding contributions to consular operations. The winner of the award receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State, and $10,000. The Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs will chair the selection committee, which will be comprised of the principal deputy assistant secretary for consular affairs, and representatives from CA offices, the Bureau of Human Resources, and the bureaus.

D/SecState Bill Burns on the awardee: “Joshua Glazeroff, Consul General New Delhi, is compassionate and perceptive — a combination of qualities that make him a consular officer of the highest caliber. A few months ago, when a gunman shot and killed six people at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, Josh took charge to help the friends and relatives of those who were slain travel to the U.S. to grieve for their loved ones. Josh was put in an extremely difficult position—he had to strike the balance between helping make a tragic situation a little less painful without making the visa process any less rigorous—and he pulled it off. Today we recognize Josh’s outstanding contributions with the Barbara M. Watson Award for Consular Excellence.”

Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Leadership in Expeditionary Diplomacy (no award given)

The award recognizes those who excel in the most challenging leadership positions overseas.  The winner, if an employee of the agencies covered by the Foreign Affairs Manual, receives a certificate signed by the Secretary of State and $10,000.  In accordance with 3 FAM 4813.2(c), the winner, if a member of the military, may only receive the certificate.

Human Rights Officer of the Year Award – this award was reportedly shared jointly by 4 officers at a US Mission in the EAP Bureau.  We’ve looked for references to this award and the awardees at http://www.humanrights.gov/ but have been unable to find any further details or press. A previous winner of a human rights award was roughed up by police in central Vietnam.  Not sure that’s the reason why this is  low key — but if the names of the awardees are published by State mag next month, we will update this entry.

For additional details on all of the awardees, we have to wait and read it in the next issue of State magazine. The 2011 awardees were featured in its February 2011 issue.
domani spero sig

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Day 2012: Foreign Service Roundup

At US Embassy Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia), the American staff and family members home cooked and served a real American Thanksgiving lunch for the embassy’s Malaysian employees.  Ambassador Paul Jones who helped serve lunch gave a shout out via FB to Victoria Station — “especially chef Haji Jean-Luc Lundy, Alex Lee and Vivian Low, for complementing our home cooked meal with delicious halal Thanksgiving dishes so that everyone could enjoy the occasion together.”

Photo from US Embassy KL/FB

The Thai-American celebrity chef Tommy Tang and Ambassador Kristie Kenney of  US Embassy Bangkok (Thailand) prepared a Thanksgiving feast together for the children at Duang Pratheep Foundation. The foundation founded in 1978 to address the problems that have its roots in poverty and deprivation.  Its permanent building which opened in 1992 is reportedly Thailand’s first comprehensive and resource center for the slum community.

Photo by US Embassy Bangkok/FB

Ambassador David Huebner of US Embassy Wellington (New Zealand)  at the annual Thanksgiving lunch with the Downtown Community Ministry.

Photo via US Embassy NZ/Flickr
(click on photo to view the slide show in Flickr)

At US Embassy Jakarta (Indonesia) Ambassador Scot Marciel and his wife Mae hosted around 100 young Indonesian alumni of U.S. exchange programs for Thanksgiving dinner at their residence.

Photo via US Embassy Jakarta/Flickr

At US Embassy Seoul (South Korea), Ambassador Sung Kim shares Thanksgiving dinner with English Teaching Assistants in The Fulbright Program.

Photo from US Embassy Seoul/FB

I hope you all have a good Thanksgiving week with loved ones and friends.  To readers, followers, friends and champions of this blog, thank you for your thoughtfulness and continued support. I learn something from you everyday. 

 

 

 

 

 

New Consulate General Compound Opens in Surabaya, Indonesia

Via US Embassy Jakarta/Flickr

U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia, Scot Marciel dedicated the new Consulate General facility in Surabaya on May 4, “celebrating our deepening commitment to the comprehensive partnership between the United States and Indonesia.” Governor of East Java, Dr. H. Soekarwo; Acting Director General of America and Europe Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. M.Wahid Supriyadi; Consul General, Kristen Bauer; and Director of the Office of Design and Engineering of the Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations (OBO), William Miner participated in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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Click here if unable to view the embedded slideshow.

Here is the part of the presser from the embassy:

Occupying a six-acre site in the Citra Raya development, the new facility serves as an important platform for U.S. diplomacy in Indonesia and throughout the region and creates a secure, state-of-the-art, environmentally-sustainable workplace for approximately 200 employees.

The Consulate General provides improved facilities to serve both U.S. and Indonesian citizens, such as a more comfortable consular area for visa services and American citizen services and an Information Resources Center where information and programs on the United States will be available.

The compound incorporates numerous sustainable features, most notably a storm water management system designed to capture downpours and slowly discharge the water to the city so that flooding is minimized; the use of drip irrigation and recycled wastewater; and a wastewater treatment plant.

Aurora, LLC of Rockville, MD constructed the new Consulate General and Sorg Architects of Washington, D.C. is the architect of record.  The $64 million project generated hundreds of jobs in both the United States and Indonesia.

Domani Spero