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New Gay Ambassador Praised by U.S. Secretary of State

Text of Remarks at Ceremony by Ms. Madeline Albright

Says She's Proud Welcoming James Hormel as Diplomat

Compiled By GayToday

hormelalbright.jpg - 13.97 K Ambassador Hormel and Secretary of State Albright Washington, D.C.--June 29--U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright welcomed newly appointed Ambassador James C. Hormel, an openly gay man, to represent his country in Luxembourg's top diplomatic post. Her remarks at the State Department swearing-in ceremony were as follows:

Ambassador Hormel; Mr. Wu, and very large family; Charge Krieger; Senator Kennedy; Senator Feinstein; Congresswoman Pelosi; and other good friends from Capitol Hill; and colleagues and distinguished guests; I am very, very pleased to welcome you all to the Department of State this afternoon on what is clearly a very happy and very important occasion.

We are delighted to welcome Ambassador Jim Hormel to our diplomatic team because he is an individual who has made a lifelong habit of doing well by doing good. Every institution Jim has touched has benefited from his commitment and generosity - from Swarthmore and the University of Chicago to the San Francisco Symphony and the American Foundations for AIDS Research.

For decades, Jim has served his community locally while maintaining a global view. I first met him when I was Permanent Representative at the United Nations and he came to help us at the UN. He has served as a delegate to the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva and as a public delegate to the General Assembly in New York. I can testify to the fact that he was super terrific, and we were all very proud to have him as part of our team.

He participated, as Senator Kennedy has said, in the President's 1995 Conference on the Pacific Rim, and has been elected to the Board of World Affairs Council of Northern California. His international experience will serve him and us well, for he is going to Luxembourg at an important time, both for the Grand Duchy and the Euro-Atlantic community as a whole.

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Because of their nation's history, location and size, the people of Luxembourg understand deeply the cost of strife and intolerance within Europe. Through long periods of darkness and two world wars, they steadfastly preserved their language and their culture. For the past five decades, Luxembourg has been a staunch defender of democracy and measures designed to create a Europe whole, prosperous and free.

Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Juncker, Luxembourg has been one of the principal architects of European economic integration, and a supporter of strong commercial ties to the United States. This is reflected in the more than $10 billion that American companies have invested in that country. As one of NATO's 12 charter members, Luxembourg has taken its treaty responsibilities very seriously.

Despite the small size of its army, it volunteered to deploy a contingent to help keep the peace in Bosnia. Now its soldiers will participate as part of the NATO force in Kosovo. This kind of cooperation doesn?t just happen, even among allies; it requires hard work and close consultation. So the United States is going to be counting on Jim Hormel to help us sustain and strengthen our partnership with the government and people of Luxembourg.

I think this is one of those glorious days the nice guy finishes first.

(Applause.)

And as Senator Kennedy and Senator Feinstein mentioned, it hasn't been easy. Just by accident, I just got a call from Governor Davis on another issue, and I told him I was just coming to swear you in; and he said he knows how important it has been to you to fulfill this dream, and he sends you his very best and Godspeed.

There is a reason to celebrate today - not just for the Hormel clan, but for all of us; because today we do send a message. That message is that neither race nor creed nor gender nor sexual orientation is relevant to the selection of an ambassador from the United States.

(Applause.)

The only questions that count are whether an individual can represent our country honorably and protect our interests effectively. President Clinton believes and I believe and I'm sure that you believe that Jim Hormel is just such an individual.

Over the past 20 months, from the time when the President First nominated him in October 1997, Jim never lost his sense of humor, his dignity or his graciousness. He was really good in ambassador school.

(Laughter.)

These are not bad qualities for a diplomat.

(Laughter.)

So today, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg will be even grander, because it will have as our nation's new Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenitentary to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg . . . now, that's a title really worth waiting for - (laughter) - James C. Hormel.

(Applause.)


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