|United States Ambassador to France and Monaco|
October 2, 2009
|Preceded by||Craig Roberts Stapleton|
|Alma mater||Yale University (B.A.)
Harvard University (M.B.A.)
|Website||U.S. Embassy, Paris|
Charles Hammerman Rivkin (born April 1962) was nominated by President Barack Obama on October 29, 2013 to serve as the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs. He is currently the 62nd United States Ambassador to France and was sworn in by Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg following unanimous confirmation by the United States Senate on July 10, 2009.
Rivkin is the youngest Ambassador in nearly 60 years to serve as his country’s senior representative in France. The Embassy in Paris is America’s first and one of its largest diplomatic missions, which now has six constituent posts throughout France and represents over 50 federal agencies and departments.
Early life and education
Rivkin earned a B.A. from Yale University in 1984 where he graduated with distinction in political science and international relations. At Yale he also sang with the famed Whiffenpoofs, America's oldest collegiate a cappella singing group. He then earned an M.B.A. from Harvard University in 1988.
He speaks fluent French and spent years as a youth studying, traveling and working in France, including studying in Rennes with School Year Abroad and working as an intern at Renault. Business interests regularly brought him to Paris or Cannes prior to his appointment as ambassador.
Rivkin is one of four children of William R. Rivkin, the United States Ambassador to Luxembourg under President John F. Kennedy and United States Ambassador to Senegal and Gambia under President Lyndon B. Johnson; and Enid Hammerman, who was the daughter of the owner of one of the largest children's clothing manufacturers at the time. His family has presented the "Rivkin Award" at the United States Department of State since 1968 as a way to honor intellectual courage and constructive dissent in the American Foreign Service. The award was created in part with the help of Charles Rivkin's godfather, Hubert H. Humphrey, after the elder Rivkin's death at 47, in 1967.
Rivkin worked in the media sector for over 20 years, serving as president and CEO of award winning entertainment companies such as The Jim Henson Company, home of the world-renowned "Muppets". He also worked at Wildbrain where he won a BAFTA Award as Executive Producer of the hit TV series Yo Gabba Gabba. Rivkin helped engineer the sale of The Jim Henson Company to EM.TV in 2000 for nearly $1 billion. His contribution to the television landscape has influenced generations of viewers and helped shape American popular culture.
Rivkin served as an at-large California delegate for Senator John Kerry at the 2004 Democratic National Convention and for Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention. Rivkin was the California finance co-chair for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign.
Ambassador to France
Ambassador Rivkin's service in France comes at one of the bilateral relationship's strongest moments in recent history. In a speech delivered in French on July 4, 2012, Ambassador Rivkin told Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault at the Embassy's Independence Day reception that France and the U.S. "can meet any challenge as long as we are together." On June 3, 2012, Ambassador Rivkin took part in a mass parachute jump over the coast of Normandy to commemorate the 68th anniversary of the Allied invasion of mainland Europe during World War II. During his 12,000-foot jump, Rivkin was accompanied by members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights parachute team. An estimated crowd of 25,000 watched Rivkin land in a field near Sainte-Mère-Église amidst heavy winds, as he became the first U.S. Ambassador to France to jump from a plane in honor of the troops who fought on D-Day. In support of the US Navy, Rivkin became the first U.S. Ambassador to take off and land on a Navy aircraft carrier in an F-18 Super Hornet when he participated in a training exercise with naval aviators on the USS Eisenhower in March, 2013.
According to the Department of State Office of Inspector General’s report in May 2012, Ambassador Rivkin has put a new emphasis on support for U.S. exports of goods and services into France. The report calls Rivkin a "dynamic and visionary noncareer Ambassador," and credits him with expanding the U.S. Embassy’s public diplomacy activities, particularly through his use of social media and his appearances on French national television. Ambassador Rivkin introduced social media to Embassy Paris, establishing its first ever Facebook and Twitter accounts.
Ambassador Rivkin has made youth outreach one of his key priorities and has connected the embassy to the next generation of leaders throughout France, including in disadvantaged communities often referred to as the banlieues. Ambassador Rivkin has organized a series of seminars for French youth, inviting them to meet with prominent American government officials, actors and musicians. Beginning with actor Samuel L. Jackson’s April 2010 visit with students in Bondy, an economically depressed Parisian suburb, Ambassador Rivkin has since set up seminars with Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, as well as Woody Allen, Jodie Foster, will.i.am of the Black Eyed Peas, Robert Zemeckis, Allen Stone, Tony Bennett, Herbie Hancock, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and many others. "Much of the embassy's outreach is meant to dispel 'mistruths' about the United States," Ambassador Rivkin said in an interview, adding, "It's easier to hate something you don't understand." In January 2012, Ambassador Rivkin broadened his outreach efforts by creating the Washburne Award for Innovation in Diversity, recognizing one French and one American company for their best practices in fostering diversity in hiring practices. 
On July 16, 2013, President Francois Hollande awarded Ambassador Rivkin the rank of Commander in the Legion d'honneur at the Elysée Palace. Rivkin is the first U.S. Ambassador in more than 45 years to receive the decoration from a sitting French president.
- http://www.boston.com/news/politics/politicalintelligence/2009/05/obama_names_amb.html Foon Rhee, www.Boston.com "Obama names ambassador nominees" May 27, 2009
- "US Embassy France". 2011-09-12.
- "New U.S. Envoy Takes Up Post" by Brian Knowlton, The New York Times, Aug. 16, 2009. Retrieved 8/16/09.
- "Ms. Tolson Wed To Charles Rivkin" Aug. 5, 1990, The New York Times.
- Chicago Tribune: "Enid H. Long, 71 - Served on college board, medical relief missions" By James Janega January 29, 2002
- Chicago Tribune: "Robert Rivkin takes on challenge of Toyota inquest with Transportation Department - Chicago attorney’s family ties to national politics run deep" By Melissa Harris
- thecable.foreignpolicy.com announcement
- "Henson tab near $1 bil", Variety, 24 February 2000
- "Interview: «Cooperation Has Reached an Unprecedented Level»", Les Echos, 26 March 2013.
- "Remarks by Charles H. Rivkin - 4 juillet 2012". YouTube. Retrieved July 5, 2012.
- "US ambassador marks D-Day with Normandy parachute jump". MSNBC.
- "U.S. Ambassador Charles Rivkin marks D-Day with a parachute jump" (Video). YouTube. Retrieved July 1, 2012.
- "U.S. ambassador to France joins paratroopers for 12,000ft skydive over Normandy to celebrate D-Day anniversary". The Daily Mail. June 4, 2012.
- "US ambassador in D-Day jump". The Connexion. June 4, 2012.
- "Office of Inspector General's Report on Embassy Paris, May 2012".
- "Embassy Paris Facebook page".
- "Embassy Paris Twitter account".
- "Ambassador Charles H. Rivkin's Twitter account".
- "How the U.S. Engages with French 'Banlieues'", Le Parisien, 26 January 2013.
- Sayare, Scott (Sept. 22, 2010). "Feeling Slighted by France, and Respected by the U.S.". The New York Times.
- "Casino : récompensé !".
- "Un plan coordonné en faveur de l'innovation | Nos amis américains | Prix Washburne", Le Monde, 30 May 2013.
- "US Embassy France Internet page". 2013-07-26.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Charles Rivkin.|
Craig Roberts Stapleton
|United States Ambassador to France