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of Cote d'Ivoire and Kazakhstan, respectively. At their conclusion, I took what was going to be a one-year sabbatical to study international law and relations at University College London and the London School of Economics. I took a leisurely route back to Texas via Morocco, India and Thailand. In Bangkok, I stopped by the U.S. Embassy and took the Foreign Service Exam one day on a lark and, to my great surprise, passed!

What inspired the move from the courtroom to diplomatic missions overseas was a combination of patriotism, idealism and adventure. I've had the privilege of serving my country in some of the world's most difficult and dangerous operating environments armed with nothing but a shoeshine and a smile. The reward has been a front-row seat to history. It has been my great fortune to represent the United States in helping to rebuild the failed state of Sierra Leone, at negotiations over a new government and constitution for Kenya, and the birth of the world's newest nation, Southern Sudan.

It is my firm belief that the partnerships U.S. State Department personnel forge with host country governments, institutions and people help to advance and nurture worldwide the same core values that makes the U.S. a great nation: democracy, free enterprise, rule of law, and respect for human rights. In many ways it isn't that much different than what motivated me as a lawyer in serving a client, because, at the end of the day, all we really want is to know that what we did mattered.

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