- The Washington Times - Sunday, May 9, 2004

Foreign Service Day

For nearly two decades after the Vietnam War, more American diplomats than soldiers died in the line of duty every year.

That changed with the operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, and on Friday the State Department marked a rare year with no fatalities among its employees, our correspondent Nicholas Kralev reports.

“We hope this turns into the pattern, into a trend, but we are well aware that it may not,” Secretary of State Colin L. Powell told colleagues at an annual ceremony sponsored by the American Foreign Service Association.

“Dangerous times lie ahead, not only for American men and women under arms, but also for our Foreign Service, Civil Service and Foreign Service National employees working in more than 200 embassies and consulates around the world,” he said.

President Bush, in a letter to the State Department read by Mr. Powell, paid tribute to more than 200 of its employees who have lost lives while serving their country.

“As we continue to fight terrorism and advance peace around the world, I commend the men and women of our diplomatic service for working to protect our national interest and spread the benefits of democracy, tolerance and freedom throughout the world,” Mr. Bush wrote.

“Even as we rejoice that no new names are being added to the list at this year’s ceremony, we recognize the commitment of those receiving the Thomas Jefferson Star Award for their sacrifice while serving abroad,” he said.

Mr. Powell presented the award posthumously to 44 State Department employees who were killed in the performance of their duties and to 35 who were severely injured.

He also honored five persons who have made a difference in their communities with the Award for Overseas Service.

The award was initiated in 1990 by Susan Baker, wife of then Secretary of State James A. Baker III. All State Department direct-hire employees and family members older than 18 — not only diplomats — are eligible for the award.

The winners this year were Mary Jo Amani in Guatemala City, Guatemala; June Carmichael in Hanoi, Vietnam; Zina Lynch in Dakar, Senegal; Theresa McGallicher in Katmandu, Nepal; and Amy Sebes in Tirana, Albania.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include the following:

Today

• German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries, who addresses the Friedrich Ebert Foundation.

• Rafidah Aziz, Malaysia’s minister of international trade and industry, who addresses the Institute for International Economics and signs a U.S.-Malaysian trade and investment agreement.

• Vuk Draskovic, foreign minister of Serbia and Montenegro, who holds a 2:30 p.m. press conference at the Voice of America.

Tomorrow

• A delegation from Romania: Communications Minister Dan Nica; Deputy Defense Minister George Cristian Maior; Deputy Economy and Commerce Minister Iulian Iancu; and Deputy Transport, Construction and Tourism Minister Marius Bota. They attend a business forum to promote investment in Romania and other southeast European nations.

Wednesday

• Ugandan Defense Minister Amama Mbabazi, who meets with Secretary of State Colin L. Powell and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice this week.

• Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar, who addresses Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

• Hanan Ashrawi, former Palestinian education minister, who joins an American University discussion on Middle East peace.

Thursday

• Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who addresses the Voice of America.

• Gijs de Vries, the European Union’s counterterrorism coordinator, who addresses the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison @washingtontimes.com.


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