The United States ambassador to the Philippines is Kristie A. Kenney. Ambassador Kenney has been serving in this role since March 17, 2006. Before her arrival the United States went through a period where a number of different ambassadors served over a short time. When Kenney arrived on the scene, I had never heard of her before, and knew nothing about her. Of course as an ex-pat living here in the Philippines, it is my hope to always have a good ambassador representing my country, so I’ve kept an eye on her and her actions over the years.
I must say, I have been very impressed with Ambassador Kenney. I really believe that she is just the person that the United States needs to represent their interests in the Philippines. She can be tough, but overall her persona is that she is a friendly, fun loving lady, who is here showing genuine friendship to the Filipino people. I believe that’s very important, and helps advance the image of the United States here in the Philippines.
Over the weekend, Ambassador Kenney was featured on a local talk show on TV. The show is called Private Conversations, with Boy Abunda, and his program is always a conversation with one person, just talking about them and their life, often revealing unknown facts about the person. Generally, it’s an interesting show to watch. When Ambassador Kenney was interviewed, I really enjoyed it, and learned a few new things about her as well. Because Kenney was nominated by President Bush to her post, I always assumed that she was a Republican, but she clearly proclaimed on the show that she’s an Independent. I was also impressed that she, being the diplomat that she is, easily danced around questions looking for her opinion on politics. While not sharing her specific political views, she answered the questions in ways that were informative, and also quite helpful to Filipinos watching her. I liked her performance very much.
Prior to her assignment as Ambassador to the Philippines, Kenney served as the US Ambassador to Ecuador. Kenney speaks Spanish fluently, and also speaks a bit of French as well. She told Boy Abunda that she is working on learning to speak Tagalog too, but is finding it difficult. She did say that she is pretty good at understanding Tagalog, but has trouble speaking the language.
To show her fun-loving spirit of friendship toward the Philippines, have a look at her appearance on a morning TV show here in the country:
I think that it is hard to stump Ambassador Kenney too. The closing question on her appearance on Private Conversations was this:
Boy Abunda: Do you like the lights on, or off?
Ambassador Kenney: Lights Off, but with many candles!
That was a quick retort, and a good response in my opinion.
I don’t know for sure, but a couple of years ago I was told by an embassy employee that Ambassador Kenney reads my blog’s daily. Maybe she does, maybe she doesn’t. But, Ambassador Kenney, if you happen to read this article, I’d just like to say hello to you, and urge you to keep doing the great job that you’re doing for our country.