HONORING AMBASSADOR JOHN O'KEEFE; Congressional Record Vol. 165, No. 183
(Extensions of Remarks - November 15, 2019)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Pages E1450-E1451]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]



                          HON. DAVID E. PRICE

                           of north carolina

                    in the house of representatives

                       Friday, November 15, 2019

  Mr. PRICE of North Carolina. Madam Speaker, I rise today to recognize 
Ambassador John O'Keefe, who is retiring after a distinguished 
diplomatic and public service career including, most recently, eleven 
years at the helm of the Open World Leadership Center at the Library of 
  Open World is a unique exchange program for emerging democracies, 
particularly former Soviet and communist states. This program leverages 
the energy of Members of Congress and their constituents, bringing 
current and rising foreign leaders to Washington and other communities 
throughout our country for dialogue and cultural exposure. Open World 
now maintains a vast network of more than 29,000 alumni.

[[Page E1451]]

  As a member of Open World's Board of Trustees, I have seen firsthand 
the impact of Ambassador O'Keefe's visionary leadership. As Chairman of 
the House Democracy Partnership, I have worked with him to increase the 
synergy between our two programs, greatly increasing the number of 
Parliamentarians with whom we can interact.
  Under Ambassador O'Keefe's leadership, Open World expanded to 
seventeen countries and created direct agreements with fourteen 
American embassies in Open World program countries, thus strengthening 
the United States legislative branch's relationship with U.S. missions 
abroad. Open World also expanded programming to bring Members of 
Parliament from Central Asia to the United States by virtue of 
Ambassador O'Keefe's knowledge of the region.
  John O'Keefe became ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic in 2000. As 
Ambassador, he made lasting contributions to the country and the 
region. He negotiated the treaty that established a military base in 
Kyrgyzstan that could be used by Coalition forces in support of 
operations in Afghanistan. He worked with the President of Kyrgyzstan 
to establish an investment advisory council to attract foreign capital 
to the country, and he worked with the Minister of Education to ensure 
merit-based university acceptance for students. Ambassador O'Keefe also 
helped to create an outreach program to the Kyrgyz Muslim community.
  After serving as Ambassador, Mr. O'Keefe returned to the State 
Department, where he served as Deputy Assistant Secretary for the 
Office of the Director General, Bureau of Human Resources, and head of 
the Office of Career Development and Assignments. He served as Acting 
Director General in 2006 and then as Deputy Director of the Foreign 
Service Institute of the Department.
  Ambassador O'Keefe's commitment to diplomacy earned him many awards 
and accolades for his service throughout his career at the State 
Department, including the Distinguished Honor A ward and the 
Presidential Performance Award. He was later recognized with the 
prestigious Replogle Award for Management Improvement, the Presidential 
Meritorious Service Award, and the Secretary of State Award for 
Lifetime Achievement.
  Madam Speaker, I am privileged to know John O'Keefe as an exemplar of 
our country's values, an accomplished diplomat, and a valued partner in 
many endeavors. I ask my colleagues to join me in honoring him for his 
long and dedicated service to the State Department, to the Open World 
Leadership Center, and to our country.