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J U L Y - A UGU S T 2 0 1 1 / F OR E I GN S E R V I C E J OU R N A L
51
in service to our nation. I proudly join
SecretaryClinton in saluting those lost and
in thanking themembers of our diplomatic
service for their selfless contributions to
America and the world. Signed, Barack
Obama.”
Explaining the background of the
AFSAmemorial plaques, Johnsonempha-
sized that family members are an integral
part of theForeignService. Intheyear 2000,
in cooperation with the Associates of the
American Foreign Service Worldwide,
AFSA established a plaque recognizing
Foreign Service family members who
have died abroad.
“Every year, on Foreign Affairs Day, a
wreath is also placed at that plaque, locat-
ed on the other side of this lobby, to rec-
ognize the sacrificesmade by familymem-
bers who accompany their spouse or par-
ents overseas. Today, we proudly honor
all those represented on these hallowed
walls,” Johnson said.
Johnson endedher remarks by adding,
“As we solemnly honor Eugene Sullivan,
today, nearly 40 years later, we also
remember anothermember of the Foreign
Service family, Sharon Clark, who died of
cerebral malaria on Dec. 26, 2010, while
serving in Abuja, Nigeria.”
A Sense of Mission
Deputy Secretary of State James B.
Steinberg then took the podium: “Fromall
that I’ve learned in hearing this
remarkable story, Gene Sulli-
van’s life was shaped by a pow-
erful sense of mission. During
tours of duty of Seoul, Taipei,
Manila, Bangkok and Addis
Ababa, Gene lived his dreamof
helping the poor and the pow-
erless. That commitment ex-
tended tohis private life, aswell.
Gene gave generously to many
charities and orphanages.
“Gene’s friends and family
describe him as a man full of
intellectual curiosity with a love of travel,
newcuisines, andnewlanguages, especially
languages. He spoke 13 of them, includ-
ing two Chinese dialects.
“They also talkaboutwhat a lovinghus-
bandand father hewas, andwe’rehonored
that so many of his members of his fami-
ly are here with us today. And I want to
pay tribute to you for being here. Thank
you so much.”
T
his month’s combined July-August edition provides us with
the opportunity to celebrate a classicAmerican success story.
Ralph J. Bunche, who was born on Aug. 7, 1904, in Detroit,
establishedhimself as a luminary inmultiple disciplines: academia,
diplomacy and civil rights.
Ralph Bunche was a self-made man. He lost his parents at an
early age, and his grandmother, awoman ofmodestmeans, raised
him in Los Angeles. Despite the disadvantages of his early years,
Bunche distinguished himself academically through primary and
secondary school.
Attending UCLA on a basketball scholarship, he studied polit-
ical science, and graduated as valedictorian in 1927. He continued
his studies atHarvardon an academic scholarship, earning a Ph.D.
in1934. He thenbecame a professor atHowardUniversity, where
he had a storied academic career.
DuringWorldWar II, Bunche’s work on colonialism in Africa
brought him to the Office of Strategic Services and then the State
Department. He advised the U.S. delegations involved in estab-
lishing theUnitedNations, and alsodraftedportions of theUnited
Nations Charter. He served the U.N. for decades in various posi-
tions, including as under secretary for political affairs, and attained
worldwide fame as aMiddleEastmediator. Hewon the 1950Nobel
Peace Prize for negotiating the 1949 Arab-Israeli armistice.
Mr. Buncheused the famehe acquiredon the international stage
in his advocacy for civil rights in the United States. He marched
with theRev.MartinLutherKing Jr. inAlabama andWashington,
D.C., and served on the board of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People for 22 years.
Ralph Bunche died in 1971, leaving an enduring legacy at each
of the institutions he served. Parks, scholarships, buildings and the
StateDepartment’s libraryhave all beennamedafter him, testimony
to a passion for service that was best summedupbyU.N. Secretary
General U Thant in his eulogy:
“RalphBunchewas a practical optimistwhobelieved thatwhat-
evermight gowrong inmatters of peace or justice, it was never too
late to try again. His love of humanity and his belief inmankind’s
ultimate goodness carriedhimthroughmany a crisiswhichwould
have broken a lesser man.”
“This Month in Diplomatic History” is a periodic column on U.S. diplomatic
history. Authors are members of the Friends of the USDC, a support group
for the U.S. Diplomacy Center.
Greg Naarden is an FSOwho has served in Frankfurt, Dushanbe and Kabul.
He is currently assigned to Washington, where he is trying to track down
artifacts for the U.S. Diplomacy Center. If you’re interested in the Friends of
the USDC, feel free to contact him at
NaardenGL2@state.gov.
Plaque Ceremony • Continued from page 35
THIS MONTH IN DIPLOMATIC HISTORY:
Ralph J. Bunche:
Nobel Peace Prize Winner
BY GREG NAARDEN
Deputy Secretary of State James Steinberg offers words of con-
dolence to the Sullivan on Foreign Affairs Day, May 6.