Ambassador Kennedy served as an exhibit guide for the "Agriculture USA" exhibit from 1977 to 1978. Following is the edited excerpt of an interview conducted by Ian Kelly, Director of the Office of Russian Affairs, Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs.
One of my stands was the Ford Pick-Up – incredibly popular because – although probably no American farm would be without a pick-up of some kind – to a Soviet, this was really a sort of an unbelievable thing that a private person would have this. It attracted so much incredible admiration and excitement that somebody, an individual, would be so empowered that they could have their own truck. In those days, of course, cars were fairly small in number and difficult to get. I also worked on the big hay bailer. We had stands, not just technical things, but we had stands that showed how Americans canned food, for example, which was always a big hit. When I think back, I think, what a great theme agriculture was for an exhibit because you think of food as being so central to the notion of hospitality. I mean the ancient notion that, once you’ve broken bread with someone, it implies a new and real bond.
BiographyAmbassador Kennedy, a Minister-Counselor in the Foreign Service, graduated from Vassar College, received an M.A. from American University and also studied at Cornell and Stanford Universities. Her first assignment with the State Department was in the Office of People's Republic of China Affairs. She then served at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow and was detailed to the American Exhibitions that traveled to Kazakhstan, Ukraine, and Tajikistan. After serving as staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary for European Affairs, she returned to Moscow in 1983. Ambassador Kennedy was assigned in 1985 to the U.S. Delegation to the negotiations on conventional armed forces in Vienna, serving with the MBFR (Mutual Balanced Force Reduction) delegation and then helping to negotiate the mandate for the new CFE (Conventional Forces in Europe) talks which were launched in 1989. Ambassador Kennedy began her assignment to the U.S. Embassy in Turkey at the outbreak of the Gulf War. During the subsequent Kurdish refugee crisis, she was detailed to Operation Provide Comfort. She served as Chargé d'Affaires at the newly established U.S. Embassy in Armenia in 1992. She returned to Washington in 1993 as the Deputy Director for Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and Palestinian Affairs. Ambassador Kennedy was Director for Central Eurasia and Caspian Energy Issues from 1995-1997. She was next assigned as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Mission to International Organizations in Vienna. She was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Turkmenistan in 2001 where she focused on promoting civil society and enlisting the government in the war against terrorism in neighboring Afghanistan. From 2003-2004, she directed the 46th Class of the Senior Seminar and served as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs. Ambassador Kennedy's languages are Russian and Turkish. She is a graduate of the Senior Seminar and a member of the American Foreign Service Association. She has received the Distinguished Honor Award, as well as a number of Superior and Meritorious Honor awards from the Department of State. Ambassador Kennedy and her husband, fellow diplomat and exhibit guide John Feeney, have two sons.