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Graduate Appointed U.S. Ambassador to Haiti

Graduate Appointed U.S. Ambassador to HaitiRenowned diplomat and Fletcher alum James B. Foley is committed to building a strong relationship between the United States and Haiti -- the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. Washington, D.C.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [09.05.03] When James B. Foley graduated from the Fletcher School at Tufts more than 20 years ago, he immediately embarked on a career in the Foreign Service that brought him to countries as diverse as Belgium, the Philippines and Switzerland. In working with these nations, Foley served as a diplomat and led many successful missions for the State Department -- experiences that will certainly come in handy as the Tufts graduate takes on a challenging new role as the U.S. ambassador to Haiti.

"It's a tough place with intractable problems," Foley told the Buffalo News, citing the island nation's history of dictatorship and drug-running. With a population of 7.5 million, the country is currently considered to be the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere.

Foley hopes to reduce corruption in the Haitian government by focusing on the positive, noting the country's unique contributions to art and culture and the fact that it gained its independence through the first successful slave revolt in modern times.

Yet the Tufts graduate remains highly aware of the problems that Haiti faces.

"Haiti has had too many ‘presidents for life,'" Foley told the News. "What Haiti needs now more than anything else is a commitment by leaders across the spectrum, in government and opposition, to fight lawlessness, impunity and narco-trafficking."

U.S. government officials -- including Secretary of State Colin Powell - have said that Foley's previous success in dealing with such problems in other countries make him the perfect candidate for the job.

"That's why we need a diplomat of Jim Foley's caliber there," Powell said at a ceremony inaugurating the Tufts graduate into his new role. "He is an old hand at building coalitions for freedom."

Foley displayed such skills while performing oversight responsibilities in the Middle East, Central America, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.

After receiving the Department of State's Superior Honor Award in 1993, the Tufts graduate spent three years as the deputy director of the private office of the NATO Secretary General in Brussels, where he was responsible for defense and military issues, including all aspects of NATO operations in Bosnia.

Foley, who has been a member of the Foreign Service since 1983, also served as State Department spokesman and a top aide to Secretary of State Lawrence Eagleburger under former President George Bush. Most recently, the Tufts graduate served as deputy chief of mission for the State Department in Geneva, Switzerland.

Foley and his wife, Kate Suryan, plan on leaving for Haiti in about a week and a half to start his newest project. The couple currently resides in Buffalo, NY.

"I am profoundly grateful to President Bush and Secretary of State Powell for choosing me as ambassador from the United States to Haiti, and to the Senate for the confidence that they are placing in me," the Tufts graduate said in French during his acceptance speech. "I am honored to represent our country to the Republic of Haiti."

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