High honors, tireless diplomacy, and open houses all over town
By Gail Scott
Thomas Pickering, undersecretary of state for political affairs during the Clinton years and one of America’s premier diplomats, was honored as a “leading multi-lateralist who personifies the ethos of pragmatic idealism” during the Stimson Center’s tribute at the Embassy of Singapore on April 22. “He’s a diplomat’s diplomat,” Ambassador Chan Heng-Chee said, praising the former Fulbright Scholar and U.S. ambassador to Russia, the UN, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria, and Jordan.
Former Ambassador to Mexico James Robert “Jim” Jones was honored for his service as chairman of Meridian International Center at its spring garden benefit. It was obvious from the start that the honoree’s wife, Olivia (once his law partner), is just as much a Washington insiders’ favorite. His first love, however, was politics, so it was no surprise to anyone who knew him that, at 28, President Lyndon B. Johnson picked Jones to be his appointments secretary – the position now called chief of staff – making him the youngest person in history to hold that important gate-keeping post. The Oklahoma Democrat later served in Congress for seven terms (and was chairman of the House Budget Committee for four years), then moved on to be chairman and CEO of the American Stock Exchange from 1989-1993. Today, Jones is co-chairman and CEO of Manatt Jones Global Strategies.