A visit from former Ambassador to Russia and Ukraine John Tefft


Polina Frenkel, Campus Reporter

   On April 21st, Kent School welcomed John Tefft, former U.S Ambassador to both Russia and Ukraine. His visit was a part of the new program called American Academy of Diplomacy, which facilitates visits from former ambassadors to schools. This program had instant appeal for Kent, since it would educate students on what the Foreign Service is, as well as give them an opportunity to consider it as a future career like many Kent alumni. John Tefft’s visit was also an opportunity to educate students on the current events that are taking place in the world, such as a conflict between Russia and Ukraine. 

     The U.S Ambassador had an opportunity to visit three classes in the morning, where he spoke to about fifty students curious about Tefft’s experience in the Foreign Service. He shared a lot of stories, including a  memorable and powerful one about Tefft and his wife sitting in George W. Bush’s limousine after their Lithuania visit when Lithuania had just become a part of NATO, which he described as leaving a lot of its citizens in tears of joy.

     In Tefft’s speech in the Headmaster’s Study, he had a “great balance of sharing great personal stories, and insights within the events in the world,” said Mr. Ober, who managed Tefft’s visit. “His focus was on how the Foreign Service Officers can make a big difference in people’s lives, especially helping the Americans abroad who had troubles in the countries that they were visiting.”

   The Ambassador talked about the embassy, diplomats, and ambassadors inviting American writers, signers, and influential people to the host country they are working in in order to help the citizens understand the American culture better. “This particular experience really helped to bring together the two bridges of societies,” Mr. Ober shares. Tefft also mentioned how ambassadors articulate American perspective on various issues, such as the situation in Ukraine, and how they also articulate the position of the U.S government. 

    This American Academy of Diplomacy will hopefully continue to be a part of Kent School education in order to open up the insights to students, as well as to engage them to be well-rounded on the events going on in the world.