- The Washington Times - Monday, November 23, 2009


From Washington to Manila, ambassadors are discovering the value of Twitter, Facebook and other Internet networking sites to get their messages to the netroots generation.

Arturo Sarukhan, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, claims to be the first foreign envoy in Washington to open a Twitter account; while, on the other side of the world, Kristie Kenney, the U.S. ambassador in Manila, expressed her regrets about leaving the Philippines on her Facebook page.

“Heartbroken to think of leaving the Philippines, but [I] know it is time for me to plan to return to be with my family,” the career diplomat said on Facebook. “Calling on my [Facebook] friends to help be not be sad but to enjoy and savor my remaining months in this lovely country.”

Ms. Kenney, the first U.S. female ambassador to the Philippines, has been envoy in Manila since March 2006.

In a more formal farewell statement, she said, “It has been an extraordinary honor and privilege to serve as the ambassador of the United States to the Republic of the Philippines for more than three and a half years. Working with so many Filipinos, from all walks of life, has been one of the most memorable experiences of my life.

“I have come to deeply appreciate, not just the warmth and friendship of Filipinos, but also their determination to make their country, region and world a better place for their children and grandchildren.

“It has been a true pleasure to live in this beautiful country and to lead the U.S. embassy in efforts to partner with the government and people of the Philippines for the great good of Americans and Filipinos, alike.”

President Obama last week appointed Harry Thomas, another career diplomat, to replace Ms. Kenney. Mr. Thomas served most recently as director-general of the Foreign Service. He was ambassador to Bangladesh from 2003 to 2005.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:


Prime Minister Manmohan Singh of India, who addresses the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S.-India Business Council. He meets President Obama on Tuesday with a welcoming ceremony at the White House, a news conference and a state dinner.

Magodonga Mahlangu of the Women of Zimbabwe Arise, who meets Mr. Obama and receives the Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award.

Rachid Mohamed Rachid, Egypt’s minister of trade and industry, who meets Commerce Secretary Gary Locke and participates in a forum to promote U.S.-Egypt trade, followed by the signing of a memo of intent to strengthen commercial relations.


Foreign Minister Rumiana Jeleva of Bulgaria, who discusses security and cooperation in the Black Sea region and Southeast Europe in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Arturo Cruz, Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States from 2007 to 2008; Antonio Lacayo, a former Nicaraguan presidential candidate and former foreign minister; Eduardo Montealegre, a former Nicaraguan presidential candidate and now a member of the Nicaraguan Congress; and Francisco Aguirre Sacasa, Nicaraguan ambassador to the United States from 1997 to 2000. They discuss the current political conditions in their country in a briefing at the Inter-American Dialogue.

Rilwanu Lukman, Nigeria’s minister of petroleum resources, who addresses the U.S. Energy Association.

Georgiy Mamedov, Russia’s former deputy foreign minister, who addresses the Brookings Institution’s Center on the United States and Europe on “U.S.-Russian Arms Control in the 1990s: Experiences and Lessons Learned.”

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

• James Morrison can be reached at jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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