Today was Ambassador Maura Harty's last day as the Assistant Secretary for Consular Affairs. I am sure most people are sorry to see her go. In fact, a email was sent around secretly saying:
"A/S Harty forbid us to have a big sendoff for her in the office.
A/S Harty forbid us to have a big sendoff for her after work.
However, A/S Harty didn't say anything about ambushing her in the parking garage."
M was able to go...I was not since I was home (I am on the overnight shift tonight). Apparently lots of folks showed up and gave her a very teary send-off.
Ambassador Harty became the Assistant Secretary in 2002. She joined the Foreign Service in 1981, after receiving a bachelor’s degree from the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service. She served in Mexico City, participated in the rescue mission to Grenada and was a Watch Officer in the Operations Center (and was promoted to Senior Watch Officer (SWO) during that assignment). She was a Special Assistant to then-Secretary of State George P. Shultz, chief of the non-immigrant visa section in Bogota, Colombia, Consul at the American Embassy in Madrid (during which time she also assisted in the opening of the American Embassy in Vilnius, Lithuania). She was Managing Director of the Directorate of Overseas Citizens Services, where she created the office of Children’s Issues, and was a Deputy Executive Secretary and Executive Assistant to Secretary of State Warren Christopher. Following that assignment, she became the U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Paraguay.
I first met Maura in 2002. She was the mentor for M's A-100 class (the 106th), and I went to several of the class functions where spouses were allowed. Everyone adored her, and she had a reputation for really going to bat for her people. But she touched me most when she came to Jerusalem. All of the Junior Officers were to come to the Consul General's house for dinner with her. But I was very late...because that was the very day my apartment was robbed. I made it to the dinner after hours with the police (and the FSN who helped me through that ordeal is still one of my favorite people!) Maura remembered me immediately as being M's partner, and when I apologized for being late and explained, she immediately hugged me and asked if there was anything she could do. She was so kind and so supportive during I time when I felt so alone and distraught (it was my first tour, I had only been at post 2 months, and M wasn't scheduled to arrive until May). I will always think fondly of her, and I hate to see her go. I join lots of people in wishing her the best.