The Benjamin Franklin diplomatic room at the U.S. Department of State was filled with past and future dignitaries and diplomats to honor the 10th anniversary of the Pamela Harriman Foreign Service fellowship program. In partnership with the College of William & Mary, they provide “funding for students interning over the summer in the U.S. Embassies in London, Paris, or the Secretary of State’s Office in Washington, D.C.” Pamela Harriman was married to the son of British P.M. Winston Churchill and later became the U.S. Ambassador to France; she passed away in 1997. Her granddaughter, Jennie Churchill, thrilled the gathering by greeting guests and fellows alike.
Welcoming the star-studded crowd was President Obama’s Chief of Protocol, Ambassador Capricia Marshall, described the Ambassador as “proud to be an American by choice” and retold the story of the first time she met Ambassador Harriman: “She was the first person who hosted President Clinton and Mrs. Clinton for dinner at her home in Georgetown and I remember that moment meeting her and thinking, what an extraordinary person, so poised and elegant, I really think I’m going to like Washington.”
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was traveling, sent a letter that Ambassador Marshall read to the crowd: “…this fellowship remains a vital tool of diplomacy. With a myriad of challenges we face around the world, it is essential that we cultivate a new generation of young leaders who will work together to find solutions, forge peace, and foster prosperity…. Ambassador Harriman was an extraordinary woman whose dedication to public service remains an inspiration.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein called Pamela Harriman, “A true original. She sought out new challenges with dedication and enthusiasm. She traveled the world and discovered how dialogue, communication, and clear understanding of history and culture could bridge differences between foes and lead to mutual, beneficial solutions.”
Jennie Churchill told the rapt crowd, “Having lived through the Second World War and been closely involved with my great grandfather, Sir. Winston Churchill, Pamela understood the importance of diplomacy and politics to peace and life in a democratic world. From her husband, Averell Harriman, who was governor of New York, and a leading diplomat, Pam also learned much about world politics and met leaders on both sides of the Iron Curtain. She lived a fascinating life, at the forefront of world events.”
His Excellency Francois Marie Delattre, Ambassador of the French Republic; President Emeritus Timothy J. Sullivan of the College of William & Mary; Governor James Blanchard, also spoke fondly of their time with Ambassador Harriman and her impeccable ability to serve with grace and dignity.
Janet Howard, who served as Director of Mrs. Harriman’s political committee and Chief of Staff for many years, was recognized from the podium for her incredible work on behalf of the fellowship program. Howard recently retired as Vice President at the Coca Cola Company.
After the remarks, 14 former fellows joined for a group photo, many of whom have gone on to public service and will continue Ambassador Harriman’s legacy. Other guests included Ina Ginsberg, Sen. Chuck Robb and Linda Robb, Stuart Eizenstat, Ambassador Lloyd and Ann Hand, Marc Adelman, Allen Fleishman, Bob Barnett, Candy Stroud, Liz Stevens, Ann Jordan, Dr. Billington, Bill and Dorthy McSweeny, and former Speaker Tom Foley and wife, Heather.
Check out more photos from the event: