Harriman Fellowship Program honored by State Department
Even in death, Pamela Harriman's spirit of diplomacy lives on at William & Mary College.
A gathering of more than 150 diplomats, politicians and friends of one of the most well-known women of American diplomacy and politics joined at a June 27 reception at the State Department to mark the 10th anniversary of the founding of a foreign service fellowship program that bears Harriman's name, according to a news release. Ambassador Capricia Marshall, the State Department's chief of protocol, who co-hosted the reception, praised Harriman on behalf of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Ambassador Harriman was an extraordinary woman whose dedication to public service remains an inspiration,” Marshall said in the release. “This fellowship remains a vital tool of diplomacy. With a myriad of challenges we face around the world, it is essential that we cultivate a new generation of young leaders who will work together to find solutions, forge peace, and foster prosperity ... .”
British-born Harriman's storied life included marriages to the son of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and U.S. diplomat Averell Harriman, who was a special envoy for President Franklin D. Roosevelt during the war years, a post-war U.S. ambassador to Britain and adviser to Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. During the 1950s, he was a two-time contender for the Democratic presidential nomination.
In her own right, Harriman, who became a U.S. citizen in 1971, was a member of William & Mary's Board of Visitors and a major fundraiser for the Democratic Party through the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s and named ambassador to France by President Bill Clinton in 1993. She died in 1997.
The Harriman Fellowship Program was established in 2002 by the State Department and the College of William & Mary. It provides three fellowships annually to “top-flight students with a strong interest in foreign service or public service,” the release states. Harriman Fellows spend a summer in a professional position with the State Department in Washington, D.C., the U.S. embassy in London, or the U.S. embassy in Paris.
The reception was co-hosted by Timothy Sullivan, William & Mary president emeritus.
“I am very proud to report that since its inception, the Harriman Program has chosen 40 fellows who represent 28 American universities, including the College of William & Mary,” Sullivan said in the release. “They are a distinguished bunch – pursuing careers in the foreign service, in government agencies, in international business, think tanks and non-governmental agencies.”
A William & Mary incoming junior, William Hayward, is the Harriman Fellow in Washington this summer, according to the release.
Sullivan praised Harriman's public service and interest in the next generation of leaders.
“Ambassador Harriman liked to say that she was British by birth, but American by choice,” he said in the release. “Consequently, she took her civic duty to give back very seriously and took a great interest in the public affairs of Virginia where she resided and the university she loved.
"The Harriman Fellowships are a fitting tribute to a great woman who believed deeply in the power of young people to make a better world.”
Other speakers at the event included French Ambassador Francois Marie Delattre; Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.; former Michigan Gov. and U.S. Ambassador to China James Blanchard; and Churchill descendant Jennie Churchill; former U.S. House Speaker and former chairman of the Harriman Fellowship Advisory Board Tom Foley, D-Wash; and former Virginia Gov. Charles Robb, a Democrat, and his wife, Lynda Bird Robb.
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