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John Kerry

On February 1, 2013, John Forbes Kerry was sworn in as the 68th Secretary of State of the United States, becoming the first sitting Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman to become Secretary in over a century.

Secretary Kerry joined the State Department after 28 years in the United States Senate, the last four as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

Secretary Kerry was born on December 11, 1943, at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Aurora, Colorado, one of four children of the late Rosemary Forbes Kerry and Richard Kerry, a Foreign Service Officer.

Shortly before he graduated from Yale University, Secretary Kerry enlisted to serve in the United States Navy, and went on to serve two tours of duty. He served in combat as a Swift Boat skipper patrolling the rivers of the Mekong Delta, returning home from Vietnam with a Silver Star, a Bronze Star with Combat V, and three Purple Hearts.

Back in the United States, Secretary Kerry began to forcefully speak out against the Vietnam War. Testifying at the invitation of Chairman J. William Fulbright before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he asked the poignant question, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" He also began a lifelong fight for his fellow veterans as a co-founder of the Vietnam Veterans of America, and later as a United States Senator who fought to secure veterans’ benefits, extension of the G.I. Bill for Higher Education, and improved treatment for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder).

In 1976, Secretary Kerry received his law degree from Boston College Law School and went to work as a top prosecutor in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, where he took on organized crime, fought for victims' rights, and created programs for rape counseling. He was elected Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts in 1982, and 2 years later, he was elected to the United States Senate where he served for 28 years.

In 2009, Secretary Kerry became Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, assuming a leadership role on key foreign policy and national security issues facing the United States, including Afghanistan and Pakistan, nuclear nonproliferation, and global climate change. His service as Chairman built on his previous Senate work that included helping to expose the Iran-Contra scandal and leadership on global AIDS.

As Chairman of the Senate Select Committee on POW/MIA Affairs, he worked to learn the truth about American soldiers missing in Vietnam and to normalize relations with that country.

In 2010, as Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Kerry was instrumental in the ratification of the New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) Treaty, a vital nuclear arms reduction agreement with Russia that helps steer both countries away from dangerous nuclear confrontations.

In his 28 years on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Secretary Kerry chaired the Asia and Middle East subcommittees where he authored and passed major legislation on international drug trafficking, international money laundering, humanitarian aid, and climate change, and he helped negotiate the UN’s genocide tribunal to prosecute war crimes in Cambodia.

He also held senior positions on the Finance, Commerce, and Small Business committees, as well as served as a member of the bipartisan Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, where he worked across party lines to try and reduce the country’s debt and strengthen our economy. Prior to his departure from the Senate, Secretary Kerry was the seventh-most senior Senator.

Secretary Kerry was the Democratic Party's nominee for President of the United States in 2004.

Secretary Kerry is the author of best-selling books, including A Call to Service: My Vision for a Better America and This Moment on Earth, a book on the environment which he co-authored with his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry. Together they are proud of a blended family that includes two daughters, three sons, and three grandchildren.

Entries by John Kerry

Ein einzelnes Land kann den Klimawandel nicht verhindern

(5) Comments | Posted December 12, 2014 | 3:35 PM

Ich bin heute aus einem einfachen Grund nach Lima, Peru, zur Weltklimakonferenz gekommen: Es gibt eine Zeit für die Auswertung von Beweismaterial und eine Zeit, in der es entschieden zu handeln gilt - und die Zeit zu handeln ist jetzt. Bevor es zu spät ist, die Warnsignale ernst zu nehmen....

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No Single Country Can Solve Climate Change

(79) Comments | Posted December 11, 2014 | 5:08 PM

I touched down in Lima, Peru, today for the international climate change conference for a simple reason: There is a time for evaluating evidence, and there is a time for taking decisive action -- and the time to act is now, before it is too late to heed the warning....

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India and the United States: Our Time Has Come

(25) Comments | Posted December 9, 2014 | 1:54 AM

When President Obama returns to India this January, he will become the first U.S. president to celebrate Republic Day as chief guest. As the leaders of the largest and oldest democracies in the world sit side-by-side along the Rajpath, it will be the surest sign yet that our interests and...

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The Gathering Storm

(212) Comments | Posted October 9, 2014 | 7:19 PM

These last two days, I've been sitting down with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, and this morning at the crack of dawn we left Washington and headed together to my hometown -- Boston -- to help ring a global alarm bell and focus on an issue that doesn't just animate...

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America's Alliance With Australia Is a Boon for Asia

(9) Comments | Posted August 13, 2014 | 11:51 AM

Co-authored by Julie Bishop and David Johnston

The rise of Asia -- the world's fastest growing economic zone, with a burgeoning middle class -- is changing the world. Growing people-to-people links and technological advances are expanding the region's influence.

We met in Sydney for the 29th annual AUSMIN to...

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A Call to Action to Protect Our Oceans

(12) Comments | Posted June 9, 2014 | 11:05 AM

The ocean covers almost three quarters of our planet and sustains life on Earth as we know it. But our ocean is at grave risk today -- and we know the reason why.

Human activity threatens the world's ocean. Often illegal international fishing practices are decimating fisheries. A garbage patch...

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On Our First Ever World Wildlife Day, Let's Put an End to Illegal Wildlife Trafficking

(14) Comments | Posted March 3, 2014 | 10:07 AM

Today, the world celebrates the first ever World Wildlife Day. Here in America, the bald eagle, the grizzly bear, the salmon and the American bison are distinct examples of the centrality of wildlife to our folklore, our history and our shared national heritage. These beloved creatures and countless other wildlife...

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Preventing Sexual Violence Is a National Security Imperative

(22) Comments | Posted February 25, 2014 | 7:19 PM

Imagine that you're caught in the cross-hairs of a civil war. Your family has been ripped apart, your home destroyed, your life forever changed. For many women in the world today, these horrors are only the beginning.

For too long, in too many places, sexual violence has been used...

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Remembering the Past, Safeguarding the Future

(6) Comments | Posted January 27, 2014 | 8:24 PM

"It was so terrible. It was hard for the mind to absorb it." Those were the words of U.S. Master Sergeant Marvin Josephs as he entered Buchenwald on April 12, 1945, along with military chaplain Rabbi Herschel Schachter.

Decades later, Josephs still remembered vividly the words...

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Mandela Was an Inspiration and a Model

(13) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 3:45 PM

You don't meet a lot of people in this world who leave you with a feeling that can only be described as awe.

He was a hero to my wife Teresa. We had the honor of sitting with Mandela over the Thanksgiving holidays in 2007. I was struck by his...

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We Can Win the AIDS War

(34) Comments | Posted December 3, 2013 | 8:25 AM

I think about what the word AIDS meant when I became a Senator in 1985. Back when it was a death sentence, back when many politicians weren't comfortable saying the word.

I think about what the word AIDS meant on a global scale in the 1990's when we first started...

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The Crush on Wildlife

(290) Comments | Posted November 14, 2013 | 2:13 PM

Today, in Denver, the Department of the Interior is destroying the United States' entire stock of confiscated contraband ivory -- totaling nearly six tons.

With this action, the United States is sending a simple but powerful message to the sadistic poachers who kill elephants and other animals, and to...

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(11) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 11:44 PM


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Un voto di coscienza per la linea rossa mondiale

(52) Comments | Posted September 9, 2013 | 6:28 AM

A volte mi si chiede come faccio - io che 42 anni fa mi espressi a sfavore della guerra in Vietnam che ho combattuto - a dare il mio appoggio ad una azione militare che ritenga responsabile il regime di Assad. La risposta è che parlai con la mia coscienza...

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Voto de conciencia por la intervención en Siria

(22) Comments | Posted September 7, 2013 | 1:29 PM

A veces me preguntan cómo yo, que me declaré hace 42 años en contra la Guerra de Vietnam, en la que luché, puedo declararme ahora a favor de una acción para exigir responsabilidades al régimen de al Assad.

La respuesta es que dejé hablar a mi conciencia en 1971 y...

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Un vote de conscience pour une intervention en Syrie

(1) Comments | Posted September 7, 2013 | 11:28 AM

Ces derniers temps, on me demande comment je peux être en faveur d'une intervention militaire contre le régime Assad alors qu'il y a 42 ans, je militais activement contre la guerre du Vietnam.

La réponse est simple: en 1971, je m'exprimais avec ma conscience, tout comme je le fais actuellement,...

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A Yes Vote of Conscience for the World's Red Line

(2271) Comments | Posted September 6, 2013 | 9:36 AM

I'm sometimes asked how, as someone who testified 42 years ago against the Vietnam War in which I had fought, I could testify in favor of action to hold the Assad regime accountable today.

The answer is, I spoke my conscience in 1971 and I'm speaking my conscience now...

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Climate Change and the Future of the Arctic

(306) Comments | Posted May 14, 2013 | 10:55 AM

In 1867, Secretary of State William Seward negotiated the purchase of Alaska, officially extending America into the Arctic, dramatically changing not only our map, but our landscape, resources and identity.

What Seward could never have foreseen was the way, nearly 150 years later, climate change would dramatically change the...

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More Work to Bring War Criminals to Justice

(254) Comments | Posted April 3, 2013 | 12:28 PM

Imagine for a moment that you are a child growing up in central Africa. Instead of sleeping at home with your family each night, you take shelter with dozens of other children. You hope you'll find safety in numbers. You pray that you will not be pulled out of your...

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