Sunday, November 06, 2005

Bush names new envoy to RP

Kenney’s designation most welcome – DFA

By DAVID CAGAHASTIAN, Manila Bulletin

United States President George W. Bush has formally announced the nomination of Ambassador Kristie Anne Kenney as the new US ambassador to the Philippines, the US embassy in Manila said yesterday.

"The President intends to nominate Kristie Anne Kenney, of Virginia, to be ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of the Philippines," the US embassy said in a statement.

If confirmed by the US Senate, Kenney will take over from acting US Ambassador Darryl Johnson, a retired US diplomat tapped by the US State Department to fill the positions of Ambassador Francis Ricciardone and charge d’ affaires Joseph Musso-meli who completed their three-year assignments in the Philippines early this year.

Kenney’s appointment as ambassador will also dispel speculations of strained relations between the Philippines and the US, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said earlier, adding that the senior diplomat is most welcome in the country, having occupied important positions in the US Department of State.

Kenney, a career member of the US Senior Foreign Service, has just completed her assignment as US ambassador to Ecuador. Before that, she served as the Department of State’s senior advisor to the Assistant Secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement.

Kenney has also served as: Economic counselor in Geneva, Switzerland; economic officer in Argentina; and consular officer in Jamaica. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and a master’s degree from Tulane University.

Before Kenney’s formal nomination, several prominent US diplomats have been said to be the next US ambassador to the Philippines, including John Bolton who is now the US ambassador to the United Nations, and Cameron Hume who has assumed his new post as US charge d’ affaires to Sudan.

The US embassy in Manila said there is no definite timeline for Kenney’s arrival in the Philippines, but she is expected to arrive soon.

Ambassador Kenney holds a master’s degree in Latin American studies from Tulane University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Clemson University, where she graduated in 1977. She also attended the National War College and speaks Spanish and French.

She was a page for the US Senate, a tour guide in the US Capitol and an intern in the House of Representatives. Before joining the foreign service, she was a staff member for the Senate Human Resources Committee.

Kenney received the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award, the Arnold Raphel Memorial Award (for leadership, motivation and mentoring) and several honors for superior service.

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