When the embassy is buzzing with the excitement for an event, it’s easy to feel proud of the important contributions our agency is making towards creating a better world. I experienced these feelings of pride and patriotism when I assisted during Vice President Kamala Harris’ visit to Hanoi, Vietnam in August. This was the first time a U.S. Vice President visited Vietnam since its reunification in 1975.
Every section of the embassy participates when a high-level visit occurs. I assisted the Embassy and White House press teams as we ensured both the traveling and local press could access and report on the Vice President’s events. Her trip emphasized the importance the Biden Administration places on the Indo-Pacific region and its commitment to a strong, prosperous, and independent Vietnam. The agricultural specific topics she addressed included lowering tariffs on U.S. corn, wheat, and pork products and accelerating climate-smart agriculture.
As an APHIS Foreign Service Officer, I’m on the front line of the U.S. and Vietnam’s 25-year partnership of restored diplomatic relations. The strength of this bilateral relationship led to $3.4 billion in U.S. agricultural exports to Vietnam in 2020, making Vietnam the seventh largest agricultural market for the United States.
The work Foreign Service Officers do every day, the relationships we’re building, and the expertise we provide in-country to protect animal and plant health, makes a difference in the lives of our fellow Americans every day.
On a personal note, my 13-year-old daughter sat in the front row at the talk VP Harris gave for embassy family members. Her excitement was contagious. She proudly told me afterwards, “The Vice President made direct eye-contact with me, Dad!” It is a profound memory that she’ll carry the rest of her life.