Adm Harry B. Harris Jr – From PACOM Commander to U.S. Ambassador to Australia

Posted: 2:50 am ET

 

The WH announced last week the President’s intent to nominate PACOM’s Admiral Harry B. Harris, Jr. to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Australia. If confirmed, Admirall Harris would succeed political appointee Morrell John Berry (1959–) who was Ambassador to Canberra from 2013–2016. The last career diplomat appointed to Australia was Edward William Gnehm Jr. (1944–) who served from 2000–2001.

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Tillerson Travels to #Australia and #NZ: Protests, Bird Flips, Water-Filled Condoms and a DJT Effigy

Posted: 2:12 am ET
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Secretary Tillerson is currently on travel to Australia and New Zealand from June 5-6. In Australia, America’s chief diplomat was asked, “what specific promises have you brought on trade and climate to ensure that Australians do not interpret “America First” to mean “America the selfish and do it alone?” The reception in New Zealand was harsher. Could not recall in recent memory when the Kiwis turned up collectively to welcome the Secretary of State with protests, bird flips, water-filled condoms and a presidential effigy.

New Zealand

Australia

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September 11 Remembrances From Around the World

— Domani Spero
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U.S. Embassy London, UK

Via U.S. Embassy London/Flickr (2013)

Via U.S. Embassy London/Flickr (2013)

U.S. Embassy Singapore

Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, U.S. Embassy Singapore

Commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of 9/11, U.S. Embassy Singapore (2011)

U.S. Embassy Canada

Hundreds of fire and rescue workers and their supporters participated in the 9-11 Memorial Ride.  Here, riders arrive at the Peace Arch. Photo via US Embassy Canada/Flickr (2011)

Hundreds of fire and rescue workers and their supporters participated in the 9-11 Memorial Ride. Here, riders arrive at the Peace Arch. Photo via US Embassy Canada/Flickr (2011)

U.S. Embassy Santiago, Chile

The Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S Embassy in Santiago, Stephen M. Liston, presided over an official ceremony of remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania occurred on 09/11/2001 (US Embassy Chile - 2013))

The Chargé d’Affaires of the U.S Embassy in Santiago, Stephen M. Liston, presided over an official ceremony of remembrance for the victims of the terrorist attacks on New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania occurred on 09/11/2001 (US Embassy Chile – 2013)

  U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, Israel

The U.S. Embassy, Keren Kayemet Leisrael (KKL-JNF and KKL-USA), the city of Jerusalem and families of victims, gathered at the “9/11 Living Memorial” site at Emek Arazim, Jerusalem Hills Park to commemorate 10 years to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Photo by US Embassy Tel Aviv/FB (2011)

The U.S. Embassy, Keren Kayemet Leisrael (KKL-JNF and KKL-USA), the city of Jerusalem and families of victims, gathered at the “9/11 Living Memorial” site at Emek Arazim, Jerusalem Hills Park to commemorate 10 years to the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. Photo by US Embassy Tel Aviv/FB (2011)

U.S. Embassy Beijing, China

September 11th Ceremony, 9/11/11 via US Embassy Beijing/FB (2011)

September 11th Ceremony, 9/11/11
via US Embassy Beijing/FB (2011)

U.S. Embassy Canberra, Australia

10th Anniversary of September 11, U.S. Embassy Canberra, Australia. (2011) (Official U.S. Embassy photo by Adam P. Wilson)

10th Anniversary of September 11, U.S. Embassy Canberra, Australia. (2011)
(Official U.S. Embassy photo by Adam P. Wilson)

U.S. Embassy Wellington, New Zealand

10th Anniversary of 9-11. Commemoration Service, Wellington, New Zealand (2011)

10th Anniversary of 9-11. Commemoration Service, US Embassy Wellington, New Zealand (2011)

Christchurch, New Zealand

9/11 Memorial Service, Christchurch, New Zealand, September 11, 2010

9/11 Memorial Service, Christchurch, New Zealand, September 11, 2010

U.S. Consulate General Vancouver

Plaque Presentation at Vancouver International Airport  YVR Managing Director Larry Berg with U.S. Consul General Anne Callaghan beside a plaque expression thanks, presented to the airport by the Consul General on September 11, 2011.

A memorial plaque thanking the people of British Columbia for the assistance they extended to Americans and others on and after September 11, 2001. ‘In commemoration of the tenth anniversary of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001 the United States Consulate General in Vancouver, on behalf of the people of the United States, wishes to thank the people of British Columbia for their support and generosity following the events of that day. Canadians received diverted passengers unable to land at their U.S. destinations, opening not only their airports, but also their homes and hearts.’ 
Plaque Presentation at Vancouver International Airport YVR Managing Director Larry Berg with U.S. Consul General Anne Callaghan on September 11, 2011.

 U.S. Embassy Chisinau, Moldova

Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Eugen Carpov, today laid flowers at the Chisinau-based US embassy, in the memory of the victims of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack in the USA.

Prime Minister Iurie Leanca, accompanied by Deputy Prime Minister for Reintegration Eugen Carpov, laid flowers at US Embassy Chisinau, Moldova in memory of the victims of the 11 September 2001 terrorist attack. (Photo via gov.md 2013)

 U.S. Embassy Yaounde, Cameroon

Embassy Yaounde Pauses to Remember 9/11 Colonel Morgan plays the bagpipes during the ceremony. [Photo by U.S. Embassy Yaounde] 2013

Embassy Yaounde Pauses to Remember 9/11
Colonel Morgan plays the bagpipes during the ceremony. [Photo by U.S. Embassy Yaounde] 2013

U.S. Embassy Kuwait, Kuwait

U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Deborah K. Jones and Brig. Gens. William Frink and James Walton, commander, 311th Sustainment and 335th Signal Commands, lead over 500 participants during the Freedom Walk held at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, Sept 11, 2008.

U.S. Ambassador to Kuwait, Deborah K. Jones and Brig. Gens. William Frink and James Walton, commander, 311th Sustainment and 335th Signal Commands, lead over 500 participants during the Freedom Walk held at the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait, Sept 11, 2008.

U.S. Embassy Paris, France

Ceremony at the Trocadero esplanade in Paris, September 11, 2011 Drapeau américain sur la Place du Trocadéro. Photo P.Maulavé U.S. Embassy Paris, France - 2011

Ceremony at the Trocadero esplanade in Paris, September 11, 2011
Drapeau américain sur la Place du Trocadéro. Photo P.Maulavé
U.S. Embassy Paris, France – 2011

U.S. Embassy Tokyo, Japan

(September 10, 2014) Flowers at a memorial for the Japanese victims of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Caroline Kennedy, U.S. Ambassador to Japan, participated in the memorial at the Mizuho Bank. The victims were working in the offices of Fuji Bank (now incorporated into the Mizuho Financial Group) in the World Trade Center in New York City. [State Department photo by William Ng/Public Domain]

 

U.S. Embassy New Delhi, India

 

 

 U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan

A steel carving of the lower Manhattan skyline on display during a during a 9/11 commemoration at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 11, 2011. DOD Photo by Master Sgt. Michael O'Connor

A steel carving of the lower Manhattan skyline on display during a during a 9/11 commemoration at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, Sept. 11, 2011. DOD Photo by Master Sgt. Michael O’Connor

 

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Officially In: John Berry – From OPM to Australia

◉  By Domani Spero

On June 21, President Obama announced his intent to nominate John Berry as the next Ambassador to Australia. The WH released the following brief bio:

John Berry served as the Director of the Office of Personnel Management from April 2009 to April 2013.  Previously, he was the Director of the Smithsonian National Zoological Park from 2005 to 2009, and the Executive Director of the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation from 2000 to 2005.  From 1997 to 2000, Mr. Berry served as Assistant Secretary for Policy, Management, and Budget at the Department of the Interior.  From 1995 to 1997, he was Director of Government Relations and Senior Policy Advisor at the Smithsonian Institution.  He joined the federal government in 1994 as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Law Enforcement at the Department of Treasury.  Before joining the Department of Treasury, Mr. Berry was the Legislative Director for U.S. Representative Steny Hoyer.

Mr. Berry received a B.A. from the University of Maryland, College Park and an M.P.A. from Syracuse University.

Via Federal News Radio:

“On John Berry’s final day as director of the Office of Personnel Management, the consensus from federal employees and employee groups he has worked with the past four years is that his shoes will be hard to fill. Those interviewed by Federal News Radio said he has been the utmost advocate for feds in a tough political climate of furlough talk, budget negotiations and a rebounding economy.”

The advocate.com notes that Mr. Berry’s OPM appointment (2009-2012) made him the highest-ranking openly gay official in the Obama executive branch. It quotes HRC president Chad Griffin praising the nomination: “John Berry has been a devoted public servant for 30 years and will bring tremendous experience to our embassy in Canberra.”

Mr. Berry’s confirmation hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is scheduled for Tuesday, July 23 at 9 am.  If confirmed, Mr. Berry would succeed Jeffrey Bleich, California lawyer and former Special Counsel to President Obama who was appointed to the US Embassy in Canberra in November 2009.  Since 1960, 72.2% of all ambassadorial appointments to Australia went to non-career appointees.

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Related item:

June 21, 2013 President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts

Election Night 2012 Roundup — What a Party!

Just when we were all feeling like the Bronco Bama girl, the elections ended just like that.  President Obama was re-elected with a wide margin in the electoral college contrary to what the pundits were predicting and in line with the  smart numbers guys who knew their numbers here, here and here.  He was re-elected with a 7.9% unemployment rate, the highest of any president returned to office since Franklin Roosevelt in 1936.  Next to Bill Clinton, he became only the second Democrat since Roosevelt to win another term.

An interesting global poll conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA between July 3 and September 3, 2012, indicates that Obama is preferred to Romney in 20 of the 21 countries polled:

“Of all the countries polled, France is currently the most strongly pro-Obama, with 72 per cent wanting him to be re-elected and just 2 per cent preferring Romney. Australia (67%), Canada (66%), Nigeria (66%), and the UK (65%) are among the other countries with large majorities favouring Obama.

Pakistan, where 14 per cent want to see Romney elected compared to 11 per cent who prefer Obama, is the only country where the current President is not the favoured candidate—but here, three-quarters (75%) express no opinion. The countries with the largest proportions favouring Mitt Romney are Kenya (18%) and Poland (16%).

Around the world, there were election viewing events and parties at our embassies and consulates on November 6. Here are some of them:

US Embassy Wellington, New Zealand

Via US Embassy NZ/FB
(click on photo above to view the slideshow)

US Embassy Santiago, Chile

Via US Embassy Santiago/FB
(click on photo above to see more)

US Embassy Islamabad, Pakistan

An the election watching party with Lady Liberty and Uncle Sam.

Ambassador to Pakistan Richard Olson with Lady Liberty and guests at the Election Day watch party
(click on photo to view slideshow)

Via US Mission Pakistan/FB
(Click on photo above to view more photos)

US Consulate General Karachi, Pakistan

Before the elections, Consul General Michael Dodman also hosted a  “Rock the Vote” event “for a fun, interactive discussion of democracy and the U.S. voting system.”

Via USCG Karachi
(click on photo to see more)

US Embassy Baghdad, Iraq

Ambassador Beecroft interviewed by #AP and #alhurra at U.S. Embassy election day event
Photo via @USEmbBaghdad
(click on image to see more photos)

US Embassy Canberra, Australia

The US Embassy in Canberra even had mock balloting.  “The room has voted overwhelmingly in favour of Obama/Biden with 85 votes, versus Romney/Ryan with 19. Amusingly, Ambassador Bleich also managed to pick up 14 votes!”

Ambassador Bleich joins Lyndal Curtis on stage — at National Press Club of Australia.
(click on image above for more photos)

US Embassy New Delhi, India

Via US Embassy New Delhi/FB
(click on image above for more photos)

US Embassy Moscow, Russia

Via US Embassy Moscow/FB
(click on image above to see more photos)

US Embassy London

At the Election Night 2012 party at the U.S. Embassy London, not only was Elvis in the building, he was at the door!

Via US Embassy London/FB

And that last one with Elvis is probably my favorite; now gotta get some more sleep.

 

 

 

Independence Day Celebrations 2012 – Around the Foreign Service Round-Up

US Mission New Zealand

Independence Day Celebration in Wellington, June 11, 2012.
With a 1942 theme.  2012 marks the 70th anniversary of the arrival of American forces in New Zealand during WWII. With so few veterans left the Embassy has decided this is an important anniversary to commemorate. (click on image for slideshow).

Photo from US Embassy NZ/Flickr

Independence Day Celebration, Auckland, June 18, 2012 (click on image for slideshow)

Photo from US Embassy NZ/Flickr

Independence Day Celebration in Christchurch, June 22, 2012
Present-day Marines talking with WWII Marine Harry Oliver, now living in Christchurch. Ambassador Huebner blogged about the Christchurch celebrations here.

Photo from US Embassy NZ/Flickr

US Embassy Stockholm, Sweden

On June 28, the Embassy celebrated Independence Day, with Sweet Home Chicago as the theme, a city that personifies America’s multicultural roots. Ambassador Brzezinski’s wife, Natalia also blogged about the celebration in the Brzezinski Blog(click on image for slideshow)

Image from US Embassy Sweden

US Embassy Tel Aviv, Israel

On July 3, 2012 beginning at 7pm, the embassy’s #1 event of the year with “Israel’s A-List” goes live for online viewing straight from the residence of the U.S. Ambassador to Israel, Daniel Shapiro. The online invite says: “Be there as guests arrive, Dr. Eric Huntsman sings the “Star-Spangled Banner,” Ms. Hagit Yassu sings “Hatikva,” and the U.S. Ambassador, Israeli President, and Prime Minister deliver their remarks. Musical entertainment throughout the evening will be provided by an ensemble from the Israeli Conservatory of Music and the U.S. Military Band “Winds Aloft.” Of course don’t miss how the fireworks light up the night sky above the cliffs of the Mediterranean!

The US Embassy in Tel Aviv is also to “live Tweet” the event using the hashtag #July4inTA and has raffled invitation on its Facebook page. It has the most detailed web page we have seen on July 4th, including information for guests and facts and historical documents (with translation) about the Fourth of July.

US Embassy Helsinki, Finland

Ambassador Oreck and Ms. Cody Douglas Oreck hosted the Embassy’s 4th of July party on Wednesday, June 20th.  From the embassy presser: “In addition to the traditional 4th of July program, the guests had a chance to get a firsthand look at the construction site and even witness a blast—not quite the visual effects of the 4th of July fireworks but the noise level was the same!  Other attractions included the viewing of energy efficient vehicles Fisker Karma and Volt and a tour of the newly renovated library with its Karelian pine and flame-birch wall paneling.  The menu featured Georgia O’Keefe Southwestern Chili, in honor of the famous American artist currently exhibited at the Helsinki Art Museum.  The tasty dish was prepared with Finnish moose meat.” The event is complete with yellow hard hats! (click on image for slideshow)

Photo from US Embassy Finland/Flickr

US Embassy Prague, Czech Republic

On June 27, 2012, Ambassador Norman Eisen hosted the traditional Independence Day reception at the Ambassador’s residence in Prague. (click on image for slideshow)

Ambassador Eisen waits for his guests at the U.S. Ambassador’s residence in Prague. (Photo from US Embassy Prague/Flickr)

US Embassy Manila, Philippines

Photo collections Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

Photo via US Embassy Manila/FB

US Consulate General Matamoros, Mexico

The U.S. Consulate General in Matamoros commemorated the 236th anniversary of American independence on June 15th with a reception at the Consul General’s home. The ceremonies ended with the traditional cake cutting ceremony, where Consul General Michael Barkin was joined by Mayors Alfonso Sanchez Garza of Matamoros, Alberto Gonzalez Peña of Mier, Ramon Rodriguez Garza of Miguel Aleman, and Juan Diego Guajardo of Rio Bravo.

Photo from USCG Matamoros, Mexico (website)

US Embassy Canberra, Australia

The July 4th celebration with a NASA theme, complete with a Mars bar and Buzz Aldrin! The NASA display was reportedly extremely impressive and done by the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex! (click on image for slideshow)

Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, Ambassador Bleich and Buzz Aldrins with our Marines before the ceremony (Photo by US Embassy Canberra/Flickr)

US Embassy Bangkok, Thailand

On July 2, the III Marine Expeditionary Force Band from Okinawa performed at Chulalongkorn University as part of this year’s U.S. Independence Day celebration.

Photo from US Embassy Bangkok/FB

Happy 4th! Stay safe,

Domani Spero

US Embassy Canberra: What do Ambassadors actually do?

Via US Embassy Canberra/FB with our Ambassador to Australia, Jeffrey L. Bleich:

Photo from US Embassy Australia
(click on image for larger view)

Photo of the Day: Ambassador “Volunteers” as Orange Member of The Wiggles

Below is Jeffrey L. Bleich, our Ambassador to Australia on his recent encounter at the Canberra Theater (via US Mission Australia/FB). If you got kids of a certain age, you will remember The Wiggles, and Dorothy, the purple dinosaur:

Ambassador Bleich with The Wiggles
(Photo from US Embassy Canberra/FB)

Ambassador Bleich: Today i got a brilliant opportunity to meet the Wiggles before their concert in Canberra. They are an amazing group and wonderful ambassadors both here and around the world. I noticed they didn’t have an orange member so i volunteered myself for that role! Fingers crossed.

Richard Hoskins Did you sing or dance?     April 4 at 11:25pm

Stephen Devine Dont give up the day job in the hope they call……     April 5 at 12:08am

Ambassador Bleich The Wiggles are brave, but they aren’t crazy. No parent wants to subject their child to my dancing.     April 10 at 5:08pm

Looks like they’re all having fun!

Domani Spero