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Diplomatic Impact

Diplomatic ImpactFletcher School graduates are among those recently receiving ambassadorial appointments in the United States and elsewhere around the world.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [08.31.09] Fletcher School graduates are having an even greater impact on the course of international diplomacy thanks to a recent series of appointments.

Two of the appointments came from President Barack Obama, who continues to flesh out his diplomatic corps. James. B. Foley, a 1982 Fletcher School graduate, was confirmed as ambassador to the Republic of Croatia on August 7. The ambassadorial appointment is not the first for Foley, who served as the American ambassador to Haiti from 2003 to 2005.

In his statement [PDF] to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during the confirmation process, Foley noted that he had held a deep interest in Croatian affairs since his work with NATO in the 1990s, when the alliance helped the country recover from war and enter into democracy. He acknowledged that while Croatia has come far, there is much progress yet to be made.

Updates: Since this article was published, two more Fletcher School graduates have been nominated for ambassadorships:
Leslie Rowe, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Mozambique
Mary Warlick, Nominee for Ambassador to the Republic of Serbia

Related: On Aug. 6, President Barack Obama nominated Alan D. Solomont (A'70) to be the next U.S. ambassador to Spain and Andorra. Read more

"The economic crisis could yet prove to be an opportunity to address systemic barriers to improved competitiveness and growth, such as inefficiencies in the public administration and the legal system," he wrote. "The key factor is the understanding of the Croatian leadership and people that the great reform effort needs to be sustained not because of demands from Brussels but because their country's future economic and political health depends on it."

Foley, who joined the Foreign Service after receiving his degree from The Fletcher School, has been the State Department's senior coordinator for Iraqi refugee issues since 2007, addressing the displacement of Iraqi civilians during the current conflict.

A fellow 1982 graduate, Jonathan Addleton, has been nominated to serve as U.S. ambassador to Mongolia. He has served in the U.S. Foreign Service since 1984 and is currently counselor for international development at the U.S. Mission to the European Union. Previously, he worked as U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission director in Pakistan, Cambodia and Mongolia. His USAID assignment in Mongolia lasted three years, from 2001 to 2004.

"Just the possibility of going back was beyond my wildest dreams," Addleton told the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph, his hometown newspaper. "People were aware of the fact that I had been there before and that I was interested in going back."

In his statement [PDF] to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Addleton laid out the themes that will guide his term in Mongolia: strengthening the nation's democracy, encouraging economic and social development, promoting business investment, maintaining international security and fostering interpersonal engagement.

"As anyone who has visited Mongolia is well aware, it is a country that draws its strength in part from its unique culture, proud history and remarkable landscapes," Addleton told the committee.

Fletcher grads outside the United States have gained new appointments, as well. Omar Samad, Afghanistan's new ambassador to France, graduated from the school's Global Master of Arts Program (GMAP) for mid-career professionals in 2006.

Since September 2004, Samad has been Afghanistan's ambassador to Canada, serving as the public face of a nation where Canadian soldiers are part of an international coalition fighting a war against the Taliban.

"There have been some major challenges we have faced over the last few years, some harder than others to tackle, but I think that Canadians can also be very proud for what it has, and continues to do in a very far, remote and poor country such as Afghanistan," Samad told Canwest News Service.

The war in Afghanistan is less popular in France than it is in Canada, and Samad knows he has a large challenge ahead of him.

"I'm going to take a bit of time to evaluate the situation with the French engagement [in Afghanistan], which is growing," he told Maclean's. "I would like to see France, and Europe in general, be more involved. And there are good signs that that is happening."

Rounding out the most recent batch of appointments is Norachit Sinhaseni, a 1978 Fletcher graduate andThailand's new permanent representative to the United Nations.

Previously, he served as deputy permanent secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs beginning in 2007. From 2003 to 2007, he served as Thailand's ambassador to New Zealand, Samoa and Tonga.

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