About the Author: Ian Kelly serves as the State Department Spokesman and Acting Assistant Secretary of Public Affairs.
Today I stood at the podium of the State Department’s Carl T. Rowan Press Briefing Room for my first time as the Department Spokesman. After 24 years as a public diplomacy professional, I find it most exciting to be in a position in which I can help shape the message and communicate what the United States is seeking to achieve through diplomacy.
It is critical to help Americans understand the importance of diplomacy and foreign affairs. The State Department’s daily press briefings are an important part of that process. I look forward to working with the journalists who attend our daily press briefings and report on the State Department. Journalists have a very important job, and I will remain committed to the work they do.
As I stood at the podium today, I was immediately humbled by the task before me. It is a great honor to represent Secretary Clinton and my State Department colleagues and to communicate U.S. foreign policy to America and the world.
My second thought was that this job is tough, perhaps more so than I had realized. Robert Wood and Gordon Duguid who have served as Acting Spokesman and Acting Deputy Spokesman have made it look easy during this period of transition. I thank them for their work and will continue to rely upon their counsel.
My job, of course, is much easier when the Secretary has authorized me to speak on her behalf. I am grateful for the confidence Secretary Clinton has shown in me and was very appreciative that she took the time out of her schedule today to introduce me. I was particularly glad that Secretary Clinton mentioned in her introduction that I am a “long-suffering Chicago Cubs fan.” If nothing else, my years following the Cubs have taught me patience.
The Cubs won yesterday. I made it through my first press briefing. Not bad for the first week, so far.