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Photo of Ambassador John Tefft on the Kent School campus

Thank you to the honorable John F. Tefft, U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine and Russia (ret.), for visiting Kent School. In addition to discussing the role of a Foreign Service Officer and the process of being appointed to be an Ambassador, Ambassador Tefft answered students’ questions about the process of being appointed a U.S. Ambassador, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the U.S.’s response to it, and more.

John F. Tefft was a career Foreign Service Officer for more than 45 years, completing his service as the United States Ambassador to the Russian Federation from 2014 to 2017. Prior to this, Tefft served as the United States Ambassador to Lithuania from 2000 to 2003, Ambassador to Georgia from 2005 to 2009, and Ambassador to Ukraine from 2009 to 2013. He worked from 2004 to 2005 as the Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs responsible for U.S. relations with Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova.

From 2003 to 2004 Tefft was the International Affairs Advisor at the National War College in Washington, D.C. He was Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow from 1996 to 1999, and was Chargé d’Affaires from November 1996 to September 1997. His other Foreign Service assignments include Jerusalem, Budapest, and Rome.

Among the awards he has received are the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award in 2017, the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award in 1992, the Deputy Chief of Mission of the Year Award for his service in Moscow in 1999, and the Diplomacy for Human Rights Award in 2013. He received Presidential Meritorious Service Awards in 2001 and 2005.

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