Camelot comes to Canberra as Caroline Kennedy named US Ambassador to Australia

Ian Bushnell 16 December 2021 19
Caroline Kennedy

Canberra-bound: Caroline Kennedy is set to be the next US Ambassador to Australia. Photo: US State Department.

US President Joe Biden plans to send Democratic Party royalty to Canberra as his next ambassador, nominating the daughter of assassinated President John F Kennedy, Caroline Kennedy, for the role.

An attorney, editor and author, Ms Kennedy shied away from public life until backing Barack Obama’s presidential run, after which she considered running for the Senate, but ended up being President Obama’s pick for Ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 17.

The arrival of JFK’s sole surviving child in Canberra, if the US Senate ratifies her nomination, is sure to send a ripple of excitement through the national capital’s diplomatic community.

But the much-heralded nomination also comes as the US reinforces the alliance with Australia to counter the influence of an increasingly belligerent China, and follows the signing of the AUKUS pact and the nuclear submarines deal.

She will no doubt seek to bolster the US-Australia relationship even further. Observers from her time in Tokyo say Ms Kennedy was a highly energised ambassador who built strong networks within the community through events and outreach.

In a statement, Ms Kennedy called Australia “a country that is vital to our future security and prosperity.”

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“I look forward to collaborating with the government of Australia to strengthen our alliance, improve global health and increase vaccine access during this terrible pandemic and to address the urgent climate crisis,” she said.

“I am excited to get to know the Australian people, learn about their fascinating country and share with them what I love most about America.”

The nomination comes nearly a year into the Biden presidency, which has faced delays to its diplomatic appointments due to Republican Party obstruction.

The White House briefing on the nomination said Ms Kennedy played a critical role in the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II, culminating in the historic visits of President Obama to Hiroshima and Prime Minister Abe to Pearl Harbor.

She advanced the realignment of US forces in Okinawa, promoted women’s empowerment in Japan, and increased student exchange between the US and Japan.

In 2017, she founded the International Poetry Exchange Project to virtually connect students in Japan, Korea, the Philippines, and the Bronx through the power of the spoken word.

In November 2021, she was awarded the Grand Cordon of the Rising Sun, the highest honour for which foreigners are eligible in recognition of her efforts to strengthen the US-Japan alliance.

The briefing said that before going to Japan, Ms Kennedy was at the forefront of education reform efforts in New York City, creating public-private partnerships to promote arts education, school libraries, and performing arts spaces.

She served as the CEO of the Office of Strategic Partnerships at the NYC Department of Education from 2002 to 2004, vice-chair of the Fund for Public Schools from 2002-2010, and served on the Board of New Visions for Public Schools.

Ms Kennedy has published 11 New York Times best-selling books on law, civics and poetry and serves as the Honorary President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation.

She is a Director of the Carnegie Corporation and a member of the Board of Advisors of the International Rescue Committee.

Ms Kennedy was just five years old when an assassin killed her father in Dallas, Texas, on 22 November 1963.

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19 Responses to Camelot comes to Canberra as Caroline Kennedy named US Ambassador to Australia
HiddenDragon HiddenDragon 8:30 pm 17 Dec 21

This distinguished appointment has the potential to be a happy example of the observation, attributed to Mark Twain, that history may not repeat itself, but it rhymes –

Capital Retro Capital Retro 12:36 pm 17 Dec 21

“But if you are running from a mob trying to cut your head off in another country. ……………”

That hasn’t happened in Spain for 600 years, Tomas.

Capital Retro Capital Retro 9:12 am 17 Dec 21

She will only be here for a short time because when Trump wins the next election the diplomatic posts will change again.

Roger Mungummary Roger Mungummary 12:59 am 17 Dec 21

Very smart human being

Nicky State Nicky State 7:48 pm 16 Dec 21

Wonderful news. 🇦🇺 🇺🇸 ❤️

Rich Fallon Rich Fallon 7:00 pm 16 Dec 21

She may support Biden, but I've no doubt JFK would be ashamed of how far the Democrats have fallen. They are everything He wanted to change about the US Deep State....

Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 4:03 pm 16 Dec 21

In the modern connected world, I think embassies are unnecessary. Why should any country pay dozens of staff plus costs of property in each overseas country to represent their nation’s interests when diplomats can easily just work in their own country and deal with foreign diplomats electronically? It’s the same with most overseas tours and conferences of politicians…more could be achieved without ever leaving the country and at significantly less cost.

Embassies are an antiquated and inefficient system. We should lead the world by closing all of our foreign embassies and expelling the ones over here…just think of all the land in the inner south we could reclaim for housing and the community

    Sarah Rothe Sarah Rothe 4:36 pm 16 Dec 21

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart you would not think that way if you were in a foreign country and needed the assistance of your embassy. There are many reasons why they are required. But every one is entitled to their own opinion.

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 5:37 pm 16 Dec 21

    Sarah Rothe I would specifically refuse the assistance of any embassy while overseas. The less governments are involved in my life, the better.

    Jeremy Thomas Jeremy Thomas 6:59 pm 16 Dec 21

    That’s nice, dear!

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 9:48 pm 16 Dec 21

    I would be willing to bet au$50 that you would be screaming at the top of your lungs when you cross the wrong gov official in some of the more fun parts of the world.

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 10:41 pm 16 Dec 21

    Daniel Duncan That’s exactly the sort of situation I envisaged when I think of definitely not wanting my government’s help, so I’ll take your bet and put the $50 towards bribing a foreign government official, which I’m sure is more useful than getting assistance from my own government. Julian Assange probably wishes he’d tried that back in the day.

    Daniel Duncan Daniel Duncan 10:43 pm 16 Dec 21

    Samuel Julian went after the gov that one of the reasons our gov didn't help him.

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart Samuel Gordon-Stewart 11:17 pm 16 Dec 21

    Daniel Duncan Fair point. Julian did make his own situation much more than I’d ever be likely to do. Regardless, I trust myself to deal with whatever situations I might find myself in much more than I trust bureaucrats and diplomats to solve my problems.

    Tomas Rodriguez Tomas Rodriguez 2:16 am 17 Dec 21

    Samuel. I get the Canberra need more land thing. But if you are running from a mob trying to cut your head off in another country. The embassy is the only place you would run. You can say you know but until your in the situation you have no idea what you would want

    Nada Krstin Nada Krstin 7:19 pm 17 Dec 21

    Samuel Gordon-Stewart What I understand is that the country has bought the land/house where they have their embassy/consulate (and yes some do rent privately or office building space)

    "by closing all of our foreign embassies and expelling the ones over here…just think of all the land in the inner south we could reclaim for housing and the community" - well the ACT Gov or private buyers would actually need to BUY that property not just 'reclaim' it..

John Elliott John Elliott 3:24 pm 16 Dec 21

Dixie Jordan I know you will love this Caroline Kennedy will be the next US Ambassador to Australia in Canberra. She will be most welcome 💚

    Dixie Jordan Dixie Jordan 3:33 pm 16 Dec 21

    John Elliott oh goodness!! I did not know., but that is awesome.

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