This Week With the Chief of Protocol

Posted by Nancy Brinker
December 10, 2007
National Christmas Tree and White House

This blog entry is written byNancy Brinker, Chief of Protocol at the U.S. Department of State.

Today is the beginning of a busy week for the Protocol Office. We will have three important visitors to the White House -- The President of Italy, the President of Nigeria and the President of Peru. There are also numerous receptions for Christmas and end of year planning for the first quarter of 2008. We have created many outreach events for the Diplomatic Corps. One of the first is a visit to the hill for the State of the Union Address in January. Also, Presidential travel will be starting soon and we must carefully deploy our staff to make sure we have coverage for all of the incoming visitors to the State Department, ceremonial visits, outreach events, and other events where the Department is represented. Plus, we have swearing in ceremonies and visitors coming here constantly.

The visit of President Napolitano, the President of Italy, will include a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider at Arlington cemetery. Major General Galen B. Jackman and myself will greet the President. The ceremony is going to be amazing. The cemetery, museum, and grounds are important historical sites with so much history and so many stories. A lot of our foreign visitors ask to participate in a ceremonial wreath laying at because it is remarkable. Europeans seem to be particularly sensitive to the huge loss of life that America suffered in WWI and II and a visit to the cemetery is important to them. There are many things that take place at this ceremonial event other than the actual laying of the wreath. The flag of the Republic of Italy will be received, followed by the playing of both the Italian National Anthem and the United States National Anthem. For more information on laying the wreath for outside groups, I have attached their website.

Today, I had the pleasure of officiating at the swearing in of our new Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy, who was sworn in by Secretary Rice as Undersecretary for Management at the Department of State. It is a key position that requires a person with great people skills as well as vast knowledge of the Department and the experience to make the decisions that will effect every person serving here and abroad. Undersecretary Kennedy is very talented and we all look forward to his leadership. Gladys Boluda, Assistant Chief of Protocol, took me up to meet him a month or so ago and she told me that Patrick Kennedy was a key person to know in the Department because of his vast managerial experience here and abroad. She also said he was one of the people in the Department she most trusted due to his sound advice and judgment. I look forward to working with Undersecretary Kennedy. Patrick Kennedy’s predecessor was Henrietta Fore who is being sworn in later this week as the new Administrator for the United States Agency for International Development and Director of United States Foreign Assistance.

Congratulations to Undersecretary Kennedy and to USAID Administrator Henrietta Fore!


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