Spring 2011 Conference
The Council of American Ambassadors held its Spring Conference in Washington, DC on May 2-3, 2011. Over 50 Ambassadors and spouses participated in the two-day program which focused on two important and timely subjects, namely, the dramatic developments in the Near East and the implications for the United States and the world of China’s emerging role as a world power.
Following a Board of Directors meeting on the morning of May 2, Council Directors, members and guests enjoyed a reception and luncheon in the Diplomatic Reception Rooms of the Department of State. The Chief of Protocol of the United States, Ambassador Capricia P. Marshall, offered welcome remarks. Honored guests included the Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick Kennedy, Special Advisor for Secretary Initiatives, Ambassador Elizabeth F. Bagley, and the Director-General of the Foreign Service and Director of Human Resources, Ambassador Nancy J. Powell. Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Ronald L. Schlicher gave the keynote luncheon address.
An evening reception was held at the House of Sweden, a spectacular venue located on the banks of the Potomac River. The reception was particularly timely given that the Council of American Ambassadors planned to send a mission delegation to Denmark, Sweden and Norway. His Excellency Jonas Hafström, The Ambassador of Sweden, made brief remarks and extended his best wishes for a successful visit to Sweden by the Council delegation.
On Tuesday, May 3, the Council held its spring conference program in the Bren and Melvin Simon Room at the new United States Institute of Peace building, located on the northwest corner of the National Mall. Acting Council President Ambassador Abelardo L. Valdez and USIP President Ambassador Richard Solomon welcomed the assembly.
Presentations focused on the implications of China’s emerging role as a global power and the relationship between China and the United States in the commercial, political and military realms.
Spring conference speakers were John Pomfret, Adjunct Senior Fellow for China Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations and Diplomatic Correspondent for The Washington Post; Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke; Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Kurt M. Campbell; and Dr. David M. Finkelstein, Vice President and Director of CNA China Studies at the Center for Naval Analyses.
The conference luncheon was held in the Great Hall of the United States Institute of Peace. Governor Bill Richardson gave the keynote address which focused on China’s relationship with her neighbors, particularly North Korea.
Acting President Abelardo L. Valdez greatly appreciates the outstanding participation of the speakers and attendees in the conference. He also wishes to extend a word of special thanks to Council Chairmen Ambassadors Bruce S. Gelb and Ogden Reid and the Program Committee—Ambassadors Julia Chang Bloch, Timothy A. Chorba, Lloyd N. Hand, Stuart W. Holliday, and G. Philip Hughes—for their valuable assistance and support in planning the spring conference.