Kristie Kenney

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The Honourable
Kristie Kenney
Kristie Kenney new.jpg
United States Ambassador to Thailand
Incumbent
Assumed office
December 9, 2010
President Barack Obama
Preceded by Eric G. John
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
In office
March 22, 2006 – November 19, 2009
President George W. Bush
Barack Obama
Preceded by Darryl N. Johnson
Succeeded by Harry K. Thomas, Jr.
United States Ambassador to Ecuador
In office
September 25, 2002 – July 6, 2005
President George W. Bush
Preceded by Gwen C. Clare
Succeeded by Linda Jewell
Personal details
Born Kristie Anne Kenney
(1955-05-24) May 24, 1955 (age 58)
Washington, D.C, United States
Spouse(s) William Brownfield
Religion Roman Catholicism

Kristie Kenney (born May 24, 1955 in Washington, D.C.) is a Career Ambassador in the United States Foreign Service and the current United States ambassador to Thailand. She previously served as the United States ambassador to the Philippines. She is the first female U.S. ambassador to both countries. Kenney holds a masters degree in Latin American studies from Tulane University and a bachelor's degree in political science from Clemson University.

In July 2010, President Barack Obama nominated Kenney as the United States ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand.[1] She was confirmed by the United States Senate on September 29, 2010.[2]

Diplomatic career[edit]

Prior to being the U.S. ambassador to Thailand, Kenney served as the U.S. ambassador to Ecuador and the Philippines. Before working for the United States Foreign Service, she worked in United States Senate, a tour guide in the United States capitol, an intern in the House of Representatives, and as a staff member of the Senate Human Resources Committee.

At the State Department, she was appointed overseas as economic counselor at the United States Mission to International Organizations in Geneva, economic officer at the U.S. Embassy in Argentina, and consular officer at the U.S. embassy in Jamaica. Back home, she was appointed as director of the State Department Operations Center, a detail to the White House as a member of the National Security Council staff, and political-military officer in the Office of NATO Affairs.

Kenney served as executive secretary of the State Department before becoming senior advisor to the assistant secretary for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement. She worked for both Secretaries of State Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell and led the State Department's transition team from the Clinton to Bush administrations.

First woman to be U.S. ambassador to the Philippines[edit]

Kenney was nominated by U.S. President George W. Bush on November 3, 2005 to succeed Francis J. Ricciardone, Jr.. She was confirmed by the United States Senate on February 16, 2006, and was sworn into office by Secretary Condoleezza Rice on March 6, 2006. Kenney arrived in the Philippines on March 17 and submitted her credentials to Philippine President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on March 22.

Following the 2007 Manila Peninsula rebellion, Kenney voiced support for Arroyo, a key Bush ally in the Southeast Asian theatre of the U.S.-led war on terror.[3] She congratulated Philippine authorities for their quick action that led to the arrest of suspects behind the 2007 Batasang Pambansa bombing, and she praised the Metro Manila Development Authority for keeping the capital clean and orderly.

Regarding the question of U.S. bases, she said: “We are not building any bases in the Philippines, we don’t have any plans to have bases, and we don’t need any bases."[4] On December 4, 2007, Kristie Kenney turned over seven Navy utility boats and two Boston whalers to the Philippine Navy in ceremonies held at its headquarters along Roxas Boulevard, City of Manila.

Also, Kenney and World Bank country director for the Philippines Bert Hoffman signed the grant agreement of US$750,000 (±32mn) at the International Finance Corporation offices in Makati City, for the Bangsang Moro Mindanao Trust Fund agency. She earlier announced a US$3mn grant to the Philippines to help promote family planning in the workplace and American donation of US$38,000 for the preservation of Banaue Rice Terraces.[5]

On November 19, 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama designated Harry K. Thomas, Jr. to replace Kenney.[6] Philippine media reported that Kenney, widely known to have become fond of her post, felt "heartbroken" at the thought of leaving it,[7] quoting her Facebook status update, which reportedly read:

"Heart broken to think of leaving the Philippines but know it is time for me to plan to return to be with my family. Calling on my FB friends to help me not be sad but to enjoy and savor my remaining months in this lovely country.[7]"

Personal life[edit]

She is married to Assistant Secretary of State William Brownfield. She speaks both Spanish and French. She was raised Catholic.

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Gwen C. Clare
United States Ambassador to Ecuador
2002 – 2005
Succeeded by
Linda Jewell
Preceded by
Darryl N. Johnson
Chargé d'Affaires ad interim
United States Ambassador to the Philippines
2006 – 2009
Succeeded by
Harry K. Thomas Jr.
Preceded by
Eric G. John
United States Ambassador to Thailand
2010 –
Succeeded by
Incumbent