Getting my hands dirty

Ambassador Bleich with the prize-winning merino sheep.

From Ambassador Bleich:

Today I added another unusual chapter to the strange, and strangely interesting, experience of being an ambassador. Not only did we have a good family day, but I will never look at my suits the same way again.

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Deep space tracking

Ambassador Bleich delivers the diplomatic note that continues the partnership between the United States and Australia for space exploration.

From Ambassador Bleich:

When President John F. Kennedy hosted a group of 49 Nobel laureates at the White House in 1962, he remarked to them, “I think this is the most extraordinary collection of talent, of human knowledge, that has ever been gathered together at the White House, with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.” Since Thomas Jefferson never dined at the ambassador’s residence, I can say without likely contradiction that today we had the most extraordinary collection of human knowledge ever gathered here for breakfast. I began the day by hosting the leading scientists of NASA, CSIRO, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratories, as we celebrated the 50th anniversary of space cooperation between the United States and Australia and we formally extended that agreement into the future.

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Sharing a ‘Stars & Stripes’ moment

Ambassador Bleich conducts the Canberra Symphony Orchestra for 'Stars and Stripes'

From Ambassador Bleich:

When I was growing up, there was a program on TV called Quantum Leap. In each episode, the hapless hero unexpectedly appeared in another person’s body with no idea what was going on and had to react accordingly. That is sort of how I felt tonight, when I suddenly found myself standing before an audience of thousands of concert-goers at the Canberra Symphony Orchestra’s 60th Anniversary Concert with a conductor’s baton in my hand. Like the guy in Quantum Leap, all I could do was say “Oh boy” and start conducting.

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The bombing of Darwin

Ceremony at the ANZAC Memorial in Darwin

From Ambassador Bleich:

Today is the 68th anniversary of the Bombing of Darwin. I attended several moving ceremonies in Darwin this morning to honor the fallen soldiers and sailors of that attack.

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Our first visit to the Top End

Ambassador Bleich meets the Lord Mayor of Darwin

From Ambassador Bleich:

The first clue that February in Darwin is a little different were the warnings I received to bring extra shirts: “You’ll sweat through them the moment you leave the plane.” One politician pulled me aside to whisper, “Whatever you do, avoid blue shirts . . . perspiration stains.”

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Acknowledgement is the first step to healing

Sorry written in the sky over the Sydney Opera House

From Ambassador Bleich:

Saturday was the second anniversary of the National Apology Day for the Stolen Generation, and it has made me think about the parallels in America’s and Australia’s histories – both good and bad.

The history of Native Americans and indigenous Australians has been strikingly similar, and similarly tragic. As a lawyer in the States, I worked on Native American issues to protect Indian children from being removed from their native homes. It exposed me to the sad history of Native American tribes and the difficulty we all still face in repairing the damage. U.S. reform efforts have generally followed one of three approaches – (1) assimilating, (2) isolating, or (3) empowering and then neglecting tribes – all without appreciable success.

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The rule of law

Ambassador Bleich with Justice Scalia in Sydney

From Ambassador Bleich:

I returned today from a legal conference in Sydney with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia. I first met Justice Scalia over 20 years ago when he interviewed me for a job as his law clerk. He demonstrated his wisdom and judicious thinking way back then by hiring someone else. But we got to know each other while I was clerking with the Chief Justice, and we have remained friends since.

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Concern for Haiti demonstrates U.S.-Australia closeness

Former President Bill Clinton will travel to Haiti February 5, his second visit since the January 12 earthquake.From Ambassador Bleich:

Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti. I think the attention of the world needs to be focused on this disaster – a disaster of unprecedented dimension that will require an unprecedented effort by the world community.

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Day one

Ambassador Bleich presents his credentials to Governor General Quentin Bryce

From Ambassador Bleich:

Today is a day my family and I will always remember.

This afternoon I formally presented my credentials to the Governor-General of Australia who received them on behalf of the Queen.

It was a beautiful day in Canberra – sunny, warm, and clear.  After a typical crazy breakfast with the kids, we all dressed up and were collected by the Queen’s Rolls Royce to be taken to Government House, the Governor-General’s Residence.  Along the way, friends waved and videotaped from the roadside.

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Ambassador-designate Bleich testifies to Senate panel

During confirmation hearings November 5, Ambassador-designate to Australia Jeffrey L. Bleich told a Senate panel that there is no greater honor or opportunity than to work with our valued Australian friends and allies. “The relationship between the United States and Australia is one of our strongest and most productive international alliances,” he said in his opening statement. Bleich, who is nominated by President Obama as the next ambassador to Australia, must be confirmed by the full Senate before the appointment is official.
To read a transcript of his testimony

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