Letters from the Foreign Policy Community: Thanks for your Service

January 9, 2014 By Ashley E. (Chandler) Chang

January blues and a polar vortex? Clearly, it’s time to rekindle some of the holiday season warmth.

At the USGLC’s Tribute Dinner last month, around 800 people gathered to honor the contributions of leaders who have truly made a difference in sustaining America’s engagement in the world. But they also took the time to write notes letters to Americans who spent the holiday season overseas bravely serving our country–diplomats, aid workers, and Peace Corps volunteers, in addition to our men and women in uniform, who have dedicated their lives to building a better, safer world for their loved ones back home.


One batch of cards then made its way to the State Department to catch a ride, not by sleigh, but with U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power as she travelled to the Central African Republic.

HigginbottomThis is a country gripped by increasing violence and a mounting humanitarian crisis, and like its neighbor South Sudan and many others, its challenges cannot be solved by military force alone.

Former Secretary of State and member of USGLC’s National Advisory Council Madeleine Albright described Ambassador Power’s visit as a “high-level American diplomat carrying a message of healing, hope, and help to a beleaguered population at a critical time.”

She was also carrying notes of appreciation and holiday cheer written by people from businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations all across America.

Also feeling the USGLC Holiday Card spirit were retired 3- and 4-star General Paul J. Kern, General Richard E. Hawley, Lt. General William “Kip” E. Ward. Senior current government officials like the recently confirmed Deputy Secretary of State Heather Higginbottom (left) and Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet also got in on the card action.

Another set of cards headed to the Pacific, where the Philippines is still trying to recover from the devastation of Typhoon Haiyan. Here, Peace Corps volunteers received personal notes of thanks for representing the very best of who we are as a country.

“Sending personal notes of thanks to Peace Corps volunteers – particularly during the holiday season – was a wonderful way to remind them of our appreciation for their service,” said Peace Corps Acting Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet (below). “Peace Corps volunteers have dedicated themselves to making a difference in the lives of others, and I thank all of those who took the time to sign cards for them.”


These cards were written during an evening where Senator John McCain presented Vice President Biden with an award, and the CEO of Lockheed Martin and President of the Sesame Workshop discussed how doing what’s right is also the smart thing to do.

We paid tribute to Representatives Kay Granger and Nita Lowey, demonstrating that U.S. global leadership is one of the few bipartisan issues left in Washington, even if you’re a Republican from Texas and a Democrat New York.

Oh, and Grover was there too – yes the MUPPET who was shocked to find such a collection of strange bedfellows.

Now, I’m feeling the USGLC Holiday Card Spirit!