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Belize Embassy Chicago

U.S. Ambassador Vinai K. Thummalapally
U.S. Ambassador's Residence

Thank you all for coming this evening.

For me this is truly terrific—having so many of my good friends and partners from the diplomatic corps and international organizations here at the residence. The resident diplomatic community in Belize is, of course, a relatively small group, but I think that overall we do some amazing work and I appreciate the cooperation I have had with many of you over the last two years. Thank you for coming this evening, and welcome. Welcome to all of you.

This evening is indeed a celebration of welcoming. I want to introduce to all of you, several new members of my staff at the U.S. Embassy, including the new Deputy of Chief of Mission, Margaret Hawthorne. Over the next several years, I hope you have the chance to get to know them well and work with them closely.

Before introducing Margaret or “Nini”, I want to acknowledge her predecessor: Deputy Chief of Mission Jack Diffily. His excellent work in Belize over the last three years was instrumental in all that the Embassy does. Of course, he and I did a lot of work and had excellent cooperation with the Government of Belize. Just as importantly, however, he and I worked together with many of you and he and I appreciated that very much. I know that many of us here knew Jack well, and I wish him the best and look forward to meeting him again soon in the near future.

The very able replacement for Mr. Diffily is Nini. I know many of you have already met Nini, but let me just say a few words about her. She is originally from Chicago, but as you can imagine due to her chosen career as a Foreign Service Officer, she has lived and worked all over the world. She has worked at U.S. Embassies in Russia, Spain, and the Dominican Republic. She has served at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York and has been a Pearson Fellow for the House Foreign Affairs Committee of the U.S. Congress. Prior to joining the Foreign Service, Nini was an attorney in Washington, D.C., specializing in civil litigation. As Ambassador, I have the chance to choose my Deputy, and I chose Nini because she demonstrated to me both the ability and the desire to try new and exciting things. What better country could she have been chosen for than Belize? I am certain that in partnership with the people gathered together here this evening she will have a number of creative successes.

I would also like to introduce you to several other members of our Embassy staff, if you could just wave your hand to acknowledge yourself, as I call your name so our guests can put a face with the name:

• Our Public Affairs Officer, Eric Heyden

• Our Attaché for the Drug Enforcement Administration, or DEA, Daktor Holguin

• Our Regional Security Officer, Lawrence Caselle

• And Lawrence’s Office Management Specialist, Alia Carter

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