Promoting Development, Security, and Stagiliry

Sworn is as the sixty-eighth Secretary of State on February 1, 2013, John F. Kerry brought to that office extensive experience in foreign affairs as a U.S. Senator and Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He set forth his vision of the U.S. role in the world in a speech three weeks later, stressing the importance of globalization's effects on American interests at home and abroad and of dynamic diplomacy in promoting and defending those interests.

Secretary Kerry delivers the keynote address at the 2014 World Economic Fourm

Secretary Kerry delivers the keynote address at the 2014 World Economic Forum.

The Secretary cited progress in expanding American business and increasing jobs, boosting foreign economies and better governance through development assistance, protecting U.S. citizens abroad, stabilizing conflicts, reducing nuclear threats, addressing environmental and population concerns, improving health conditions, and advancing human rights and gender equality. He praised the employees of the Department of State and USAID who place themselves in harm's way as they pursue these goals.

As Secretary of State, John Kerry promoted empowerment of America's diplomatic personnel to drive and execute policy, not just brief and describe. He advocated modernization and innovation in the State Department as it confronted the issues of international peace and security at the forefront of the second Obama administration's concerns.

2014 International Women of Courage Award

First Lady Michelle Obama and Deputy Secretary Heather Higginbottom celebrate presentation of a 2014 International Women of Courage Award to Dr. Iris Yassmin Barrios Aguilar of Guatemala.

The Secretary pressed for a settlement between the Israelis and Palestinians and an end to the conflict in Syria, and the U.S. played a key role in arranging to rid that country of chemical weapons. It led efforts to deter Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons, restrain North Korean belligerence, and counter terrorist extremists in Africa. Relations with Pakistan were strained by Taliban incursions from that country into Afghanistan, while the U.S. prepared to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.

Secretary Kerry meets with Russian Minister Sergey Lavrovin Paris

Secretary Kerry meets with Russian Minister Sergey Lavrov in Paris.

The administration's policy to enhance the U.S. presence in Asia remained in place, with an emphasis on cooperation with the countries of the Pacific region. It maintained close relations with most U.S. neighbors in the Western Hemisphere, paying special attention to trade, security, and elimination of drug trafficking. Another of its priorities was confronting climate change.

In Europe, the U.S. imposed sanctions on Russia for annexing the Crimean region of Ukraine and warned against such actions in the future.

President Barack Obama walks with President Xi Jingping of the People's Republic of China in Rancho Mirage, California, June 2013.

With major focus on economic diplomacy, the administration pursued negotiations for a comprehensive trade agreement with the European Union. Relations with NATO allies remained strong, and Secretary Kerry's first trip abroad was to the UK, Germany, France, and Italy. Within fourteen months of his inauguration, he had already traveled to forty-one countries, including Afghanistan, Algeria, Belgium, Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Sweden, Turkey, and Ukraine.


John F. Kerry, 2013-

Jophn F. Kerry
Secretary of State

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