Ted Kaufman - United States Senator for Delaware

Sen. Kaufman Recognizes Great Federal Employees -- Former Undersecretaries of State, James K. Glassman, Karen Hughes and Evelyn Lieberman

March 10, 2010

Mr. KAUFMAN. Madam President, this afternoon I will preside over a Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the future of U.S. public diplomacy. Never has public diplomacy been more important for promoting U.S. national security interests, especially in volatile regions and areas where we are engaged in counterinsurgency. In order to evaluate past achievements, successes, and challenges in public diplomacy, the committee invited three former Under Secretaries of State for Public Diplomacy to testify on the matter earlier today.

   Given their wide breadth of experience, they will share their views about lessons learned from their tenure and their recommendations on tools and future strategy.

   The three former Under Secretaries who are participating--Evelyn Lieberman, Karen Hughes, and James Glassman--promise to provide incredibly useful insight, and I am grateful they are able to be here for the hearing today. Not only are they important voices on public diplomacy, they have also been dedicated public servants in both the Clinton and Bush administrations.

   I wish to make a point here. They don't stay, as do the vast majority of the people we have talked about who have spent 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years in the government. These people come from a different group. They are the group who come for a short period of time and bring incredible expertise and intelligence to the issues we face--expertise and intelligence, by the way, that we in the Federal Government could never afford to pay for. These three are perfect examples of that, and that is one of the reasons I wish to recognize them today.

   During their years of service as Under Secretaries of State for Public Diplomacy, they oversaw our State Department's efforts to promote American foreign policies abroad using tools such as educational exchanges, public affairs and embassy outreach, international broadcasting, and the establishment of American corners or centers. They did this through communication with international audiences, cultural programming, academic grants, and international visitors programs. Public diplomacy programs such as the Fulbright Fellowship and Sports Envoy exchanges bring emerging leaders from foreign countries to visit the United States, promoting a cross-cultural exchange and contributing to sharing an American perspective with the world.

   Although these three officials come from different sides of the aisle, they each hold unique perspectives on American public policy, and all share--and I can say from firsthand experience they all share a love of country and dedication to service that called them to government service. I was honored to work with each of them in various capacities over the years, especially during my tenure on the Broadcasting Board of Governors.

   Evelyn Lieberman is a native of New York and a graduate of State University of New York in Buffalo. She first entered government service in 1988 as press secretary to my predecessor, now Vice President Joe Biden. In those days I was serving as chief of staff, and I had the privilege to work with Evelyn early in her career. In 1993 Evelyn moved over to the White House where she served as Assistant to the First Lady, now Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Three years later, after serving also as Deputy White House Press Secretary, she was appointed Deputy Chief of Staff under Leon Panetta.

   In 1997, President Clinton appointed her as director of Voice of America, and she served there for 2 years. During that time, I was a member of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, which oversees Voice of America programming, and I was fortunate to work closely with Evelyn once more.

   In 1999, President Clinton nominated Evelyn to serve as the State Department's first Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy, and she was confirmed by the Senate. He could not have picked a better person. What happened back then was, we took the Information Agency and split it into two pieces. The Broadcasting Board of Governors created an independent entity for that, and then we brought the rest into the State Department, and Evelyn was the one who got that started and got it started on the right foot. She stayed there until the Bush administration.

   Since then, since 2002, Evelyn has continued a career in the Federal Government serving as the Director of Communications and Public Affairs for the Smithsonian Institution.

   The second witness today is Karen Hughes, who was appointed by President Bush to this position after serving as Counselor in the White House from 2000 to 2002. A Texas native, she holds a bachelor's degree from Southern Methodist University. Before embarking on a career in politics, Karen worked in broadcast journalism for 7 years.

   When she was appointed as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy in 2005, Karen was given the rank of Ambassador to underscore the importance of public diplomacy as a central component of U.S. foreign policy. While she was there, Karen implemented important changes including the creation of a rapid response unit in her bureau at the Department of State and many others.

   Upon leaving State in 2007 to pursue work in the private sector, Karen told the BBC that her greatest achievement was ``transforming public diplomacy and making it a national security priority, central to everything we do in government,'' which is the goal I believe continues to this day.

   During her tenure as Under Secretary, she represented former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in meetings with the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and I had the opportunity to work with her on promoting a free press overseas.

   I have worked with all three of these people. These are extraordinary public servants, Republicans and Democrats; people who have disagreements on many things but came to the government, took incredible financial sacrifice, and worked together to solve bipartisan problems that have put the public diplomacy effort in a positive light.

   When Karen Hughes left the State Department, President Bush nominated James Glassman to take her place. James is a Harvard graduate and a prominent writer and journalist, to say the least. He was confirmed by the Senate in June 2008 as Under Secretary of Public Diplomacy. Jim has done a whole lot of things. He has held senior roles at a number of leading news organizations, including the New Republic, the Atlantic Monthly, and U.S. News and World Report. He is also a former owner and editor of Roll Call.

   Before joining the Bush administration, Jim served as a fellow at the nonprofit American Enterprise Institute for 12 years. In 2007, Bush nominated him to be chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors, and he served in that role until moving to the State Department several months later. As I said, I worked with Jim during my service on the board, and I saw firsthand his dedication to promoting American values and policies overseas.

   Since the Bush administration left office, Jim has been working in the nonprofit sector, and he was recently selected to lead a new public policy institute at the George W. Bush Presidential Library.

   Think about this: Here I am, a Democrat, and I can tell my colleagues there aren't three better people with whom I have worked in the whole world than Evelyn Lieberman, Karen Hughes, and Jim Glassman. They care. We have a lot of fights about a lot of things, but when it came to public service, these three individuals all did incredible work.

   Political appointees make up an important constituency in our Federal Government. When a President requests their service, they often make real sacrifices to respond to that call, and I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt, these three made incredible sacrifices, financial and personal, to answer the call of this country.

    I hope my colleagues will join me in thanking Evelyn Lieberman, Karen Hughes, and James Glassman for answering the call to serve and for their work on behalf of the American people.

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