January 31, 2003 - Peace Corps Press Release: Colombia RPCV John F. Keane appointed Ambassador to Paraguay

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Colombia RPCV John F. Keane appointed Ambassador to Paraguay

Read and comment on this Peace Corps Press Release on Colombia RPCV John F. Keane who has been appointed Ambassador to Paraguay at:

Peace Corps Salutes Volunteer Appointed Ambassador to Paraguay*

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Peace Corps Salutes Volunteer Appointed Ambassador to Paraguay

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2003 -- On January 24, 2003, returned Peace Corps volunteer John F. Keane (Colombia, 1966-1969) took the oath of office to become the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay, replacing David Greenlee, also a former Peace Corps volunteer (Bolivia, 1965-1967).

As Ambassador, Keane hopes to focus on strengthening democratic institutions and good governance in Paraguay. He will work to develop a market oriented economy to attract investment in Paraguay, and encourage Paraguayan government officials to continue to address international criminal enterprises. He also recognizes the role of U.S. government agencies, such as Peace Corps and US Agency for International Development (USAID), in Paraguayan environmental efforts, including forest conservation, water management and sustainable development.

Keane began his foreign service career with the Peace Corps serving as a community development volunteer. He will spend his first weekend in Paraguay with the newest group of Peace Corps trainees and with volunteers at their sites.

Peace Corps has been working in Paraguay since 1967. To date 2,800 Peace Corps volunteers have served in Paraquay, which is one of the longest continuously operating Peace Corps posts in the world. Currently, more than two hundred volunteers and trainees are working in agriculture, education, environment, health, cooperative/small enterprise development, municipal services development, and urban youth development.

Since 1961, more than 168,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health and HIV/AIDS education, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a two-year commitment.
More about Ambassador John F. Keane

Read the remarks of Ambassador John F. Keane on his swearing in at:

Remarks by John F. Keane At Swearing In Ceremony

January 24, 2003

I am deeply grateful, Mr. Deputy Secretary, that you are here to preside.

I am also deeply grateful for your presence, family, friends and colleagues, some of whom traveled long distances to be here.

Most of all, I am grateful to the President and the Secretary for this honorÖ. and this challengeÖ. and above all, this opportunity.

Opportunity, as I emphasize to our boys. I guess I should not call them boys anymore, look at those strapping young men --- opportunity is what life is all about.

Public service, and global wanderlust have drawn me since I was their age. My parents fled the tyranny of Nazi-controlled Europe just prior to the invasion of France.

At the age of 24, my father left his family in Austria and Czechoslovakia. He disembarked at Hoboken, N.J. with an eighth grade education and 35 cents in his pocket, after giving the shipís crew $7.00 for their kindnesses.

That tip palpably revealed, however, that what he lacked in material resources he more than made up for in hope, because like so many immigrants, he had faith in the promise of America.

He worked, and because this country gives you opportunities, he studied at night and eventually became a partner in one of New Yorkís well known architectural firms.

My Dutch-born mother devoted her life to volunteer work with the League of Women Voters, NAACP, Red Cross and Equal Opportunity Commission.

Infused in both my parents was devotion to the principles this nation stands for: freedom, compassion, pluralism, justice, and the premise that average citizens should be afforded a chance to meet their potential.

Mr. Deputy Secretary, it is an honor for me that you and Secretary Powell embody these ideals, and I will lead a round of applause.

Another truth we Americans hold is that the preservation of those ideals can only be achieved in a democratic society.

Democracy is a quest, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said. While there are many roads to it, and its precise form will vary, the general directions are clear. Paraguay is headed in the right direction.

But, the threats to Paraguayan democracy and the rule of law remain. I look forward to cooperating with Paraguayans as they address these and many other challenges.

Ambassador Rachid de Cowles, thank you for your assistance and your gracious hospitality. Your insights have been a big help as I prepared to go to Paraguay.

Iím thrilled to go to your country, about which I have heard wonderful things.

This is the assignment of a lifetime.

Writer Mary Oliver expressed these thoughts about her own lifetime, which I share:

When itís over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When itís over, I donít want to wonder

If I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I donít want to find myself sighing and frightened,

Or full of argument.

I donít want to end up simply having visited the world.

Deputy Secretary, the President and the Secretary of State have afforded me a unique opportunity to make a difference, and I promise you I will seize it.

Time forbids me to thank everyone whose support and friendship had something to do with my being here today.

I want to thank my friends from the Department, from the military, Peace Corps, AID, law enforcement, the intelligence services, other US departments, the Congress, and NGOs who are here today. Your work in many places, which I was privileged to support, made peopleís lives better.

My second home is the Western Hemisphere Affairs (formerly ARA) bureau, where I spent 29 years. Sometimes Graciela tells me, when Iím here on weekends, that it is my first home. To all of you who are currently in WHA or served there with me at some point, my special thanks for your collaboration.

I will always value the guidance and support I received from many Ambassadors and former Assistant Secretaries and Acting Assistant Secretaries, some of whom are here today, including Bill Rogers, Terry Todman, Bernie Aronson, John Maisto, Pete Romero, Lino Gutierrez, Otto Reich, and Curt Struble.

In particular I want to express my gratitude to those who served in the Office of Central American Affairs during the last four years, for you indeed became my second family.

The Office of Brazil and Southern Cone Affairs provided terrific support as I prepared for this assignment, and I want to single out Joni Scandola, Caroline Croft, Brenda Terry and Elaine Alexander. Thanks to all of you.

I am very grateful for our sonsí good spirited acceptance of so many hardships caused by seven moves during their short lives.

Most of all, I am and will be eternally grateful to Gracie, who really took a chance with this crazy Peace Corps Volunteer.

We were married by proxy, lived apart many years and, little did she know that, as a wrestler, I had gotten used to eating only one meal a day, and would try to get her to adapt.

Gracie, you have been my most important advisor and friend.

You have been my gyroscope, keeping me on track and in balance when the pressures became great, and my comfort and encouragement in the face of disappointments. You, above all, have helped me open the door to wonderful opportunities throughout our lives. Thank you.

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This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Colombia; COS - Paraguay; Special Interests - Diplomacy



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