NEWS

Ambassadorial couple in neighboring countries

Your wife is the ambassador in Tirana. Is there any precedent? In American history we are the fourth simultaneously serving ambassadorial couple. We are the first with a border, for whatever that’s worth… In 1974 the rules were changed to allow couples to serve at the same time. We were very young, just out of graduate school and we decided on that basis to take the exam to come in. And we did get in. We came in on the deal that we would only come in if we both passed and we both passed. We started in 1977 in the foreign service. We’ve come up the ranks, each in our own specialties. My wife is a political military affairs specialist and for the last decade has worked on the Balkans, and I on economic affairs and trade matters and, in the last decade, the EU. I actually got this job (in Athens) first – I was nominated by the (US) president. When our ambassador in Albania was chosen by (US Ambassador to Iraq John) Negroponte for the very important role of deputy in Baghdad, the post became open and my wife had recently finished in Kosovo, where she was chief of mission (it’s not an ambassadorship) and she was selected to take (the position in Tirana). We have always had parallel careers and we take an interest, as couples usually do, in each other’s responsibilities. But I know my wife very well and I assure you we will both do our own job as best we can. I know everyone here in Athens thinks this is all part of some American masterplan, but it isn’t. It’s just an opportunity that came to both of us at roughly the same stage in our careers that we’re very honored to have.