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“I find it ironic that some of my colleagues are so outspoken about

what they consider inadequate security arrangements in Benghazi,

a high-risk place to begin with, when they have actually voted against a lot of

investments to shore up our embassy security and consular security

abroad. I don’t think you get to have it both ways.”

—Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Va.), speaking at an

AFSA Town Hall meeting on Feb. 9.

12

April 2015

|

the foreign Service journal

One Door Closes…

and Another Opens

O

n Feb. 11, the Department of State

suspended operations at Embassy

Sana’a and relocated staff out of Yemen.

The security situation in Yemen, never

very secure, had worsened. The Shiite

militia known as the Houthis had overrun

Sana’a in September, and the situation on

the ground became increasingly unpre-

dictable.

Yemen is the third diplomatic post

closed in the past three years, following

the closure of the embassy in Syria in

February 2012 and in Libya in July 2014.

On Feb. 24, FSO Katherine S. Dha- nani was nominated to be the first U. S.

ambassador to Somalia since 1991, when

the United States closed the mission in

Mogadishu following the collapse of the

country’s government and ensuing civil

war.

Under Secretary of State for Political

Affairs Wendy Sherman, in an address at the U.S. Institute of Peace last June, said

the decision to nominate an ambassador

was “a reflection of our deepening rela-

tionship with the country and of our faith

that better times are ahead.”

If confirmed, Ms. Dhanani will lead

the U.S. mission in Somalia based, for

security reasons, in Nairobi. “As security

conditions permit,” then-State Spokes-

person Jen Psaki said in announcing

the nomination, “we look forward to

increasing our diplomatic presence in

Contemporary Quote

talking points

Somalia and eventually reopening the

U.S. embassy in Mogadishu.”

—Debra Blome, Associate Editor

Finland’s LEED Platinum

Embassy a First in the

United States

I

n January, the Embassy of Finland in

Washington, D.C., became the first

mission in the United States to receive

the Leadership in Energy and Environ-

mental Design “Platinum” certification

awarded by the U.S. Green Building

Council. Having previously achieved

“Green” and “Gold” designations, the

Finnish Embassy is only the second

Platinum LEED-certified embassy in the

world, after U.S. Embassy Helsinki.

The Finns’ greening success came in

part through everyday measures that can

have a large environmental impact, such

as composting materials onsite, using

high-efficiency water faucets and even

providing bicycles for staff members to

get around the city.

The State Department has increas-

ingly focused on eco-diplomacy in

recent years. At the center of State’s

Greening Diplomacy Initiative is the

Greening Council.

A cross-cutting group with a diverse

membership frommultiple bureaus, the

council is responsible for “overseeing

and providing strategic direction on the

implementation of environmental per-

formance and sustainability initiatives at

State.” (For more, see the

April 2014 FSJ

.)

Greening Council Eco-Management

Analyst Caroline D’Angelo describes eco-

diplomacy as “leveraging our manage-

ment and operations to help demon-

strate our commitment to the United

States’ policy and economic priorities.

It means that we enable our embassies,

consulates and facilities to be showcases

and tangible demonstrations of Ameri-

The 956-kilowatt array at Embassy Managua is estimated to produce over 1,276

megawatt-hours of emissions-free energy annually, for 27 percent of its needs.

David Shaffer, OBO