Deputy Secretary William J. Burns today presented the CRDF Global George Brown Award to former U.S. Ambassador Tom Pickering.
At the CRDF Global George Brown Award Reception, Mr. Burns said the work of CRDF Global is truly commendable. He said CRDF Global is bridging divides and fostering new relationships among nations through science and technology.
“But what brings me here tonight is my great respect and admiration for Ambassador Tom Pickering. There can be no greater honor in American diplomacy – and no more daunting task – than to follow in the footsteps of Ambassador Pickering.” -Mr. Burns
He cited that Tom Pickering is quite simply the best diplomat he has ever known. He said he owe Mr. Pickering an enormous debt to him as a mentor, role model and friend.
He stated that Ambassador Pickering’s career in the Foreign Service is without parallel. With seven ambassadorships under his belt, he led many of our most strategically important missions around the globe. Ambassador Pickering also represented the United States with distinction at the United Nations, most notably during the first Gulf War.
“He is a master diplomat, and as versatile a Foreign Service officer as the Department of State has ever produced. And that includes a lifetime of exemplary work on science diplomacy.” -Mr. Burns
According to Mr. Burns, international cooperation on science and technology has helped to thaw even the frostiest international relationships over the years. He added that during Ambassador Pickering’s many missions abroad, he incorporated environmental, scientific and technological issues into the overall work of the post. He constantly found ways to further diplomatic relations by establishing bilateral science and technology programs and agreements.
“Ambassador Pickering was always seeking out opportunities big and small. With patience, persistence and expertise on issues ranging from nuclear disarmament and nonproliferation to climate issues and environmental stewardship, Pickering always made sure science and technology were part of an overarching foreign policy strategy.” -Mr. Burns
Mr. Burns stressed that retirement couldn’t stop Tom Pickering. Ambassador Pickering is still actively engaged in crafting foreign policy. He said his advice is sought after and respected. He remains a force to be reckoned with in this town and around the globe.
“He continues work on the promotion of science diplomacy, Track II dialogues and creating the conditions for a world free of nuclear weapons. I sometimes wonder if there is anything he cannot do.” -Mr. Burns