Joel Ehrendreich ('81) named US Ambassador to Palau

President Biden named Joel Eherendrich ('81) US Ambassador to Palau. His appointment was confirmed on June 13, 2023 and in his statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, he gave a shout out to Whitefish Bay High School (see below). He has lead a distinguished diplomatic career which you can read about on the US Dept. of State website.

Below is the text of Joel's statement to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, in which he includes a shout out to Whitefish Bay High School.

Statement of Mr. Joel Ehrendreich
Nominee to be U.S. Ambassador to the Republic of Palau
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
June 13, 2023

Chairman Van Hollen, Ranking Member Romney, Members of the Committee, good
afternoon. I am honored to appear before you as President Biden's nominee for Ambassador to
the Republic of Palau.
I want to give a special thank you to Senator Hagerty, someone whom I greatly admired as
ambassador and whose mentorship I am grateful for. You honor me, Senator, by providing that
I am grateful for the confidence shown by the President and Secretary Blinken in nominating
me. I have spent the bulk of my nearly 30-year career in the Indo-Pacific region, and, if
confirmed, I look forward to working with Congress to advance U.S. interests in this region that
I and so many others believe is fundamental to America's future.
I would like to take a moment to thank my loved ones who have contributed to me ending up
here today. My sons, Cooper and Calvin, both of whom I'm so proud of and who have brought
me joy every day of their lives. My daughter-in-law Nada, who has been a wonderful addition to
the family, and our newest wonderful addition, our grandson Zayn, born just a few weeks ago.
And of course, Rachel, my wife of 33 years, my love, my soul mate, the person who makes me a
better person. I also want to thank my brother, Josh, in-laws Jackie and Scott Alter, and mother-

in-law Janice McClelland. I am truly blessed to have so many marvelous people in my life.
And here I'm compelled to also try and right a wrong. My official nomination bio mentioned
where I was born, Omaha, but left out where I grew up and the place that still feels like home to
this day: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. So a shout-out to the town I love and all my friends there, and
if I could just add one request for my fellow Whitefish Bay High School alum, Milwaukee
Brewers manager Craig Counsell: if you could sprinkle just a little extra of your magic on the
Brewers this season, I would love it, just once before I die, to know what it feels like to cheer for
the World Series Champion.
Senators, a couple weeks ago, when we concluded the 2023 Compact Review Agreement,
Palau's president, Surangel Whipps, Jr., posted on his Facebook page "God bless Palau! God
bless the United States of America. God bless us all!"
I share President Whipps' enthusiasm for our partnership and potential for the future. I believe
the United States and Palau have a real convergence of interests at this time. If confirmed, I am
eager to continue to build on our special, unique relationship, and would look forward to
advancing win-win opportunities for our two countries.
To do so, I would first turn to our National Security Strategy, Indo-Pacific Strategy, and Pacific
Partnership Strategy. These documents describe in no uncertain terms that the United States
faces unprecedented challenges from the People's Republic of China. We have seen that while

the PRC's provocative actions span the globe, they are most acute in the Indo-Pacific. The
strategies highlight the importance of enhancing our relationships with allies and partners, to
include a specific focus on deepening ties with Pacific Island Countries.
Regarding the 2023 Compact Review Agreement, I urge Congress to quickly take up the relevant
implementing legislation, appropriate funds, and allow for the entry into force of the agreement.
If confirmed, and once the agreement enters into force, I would work to ensure both sides live up
to the obligations made in the new agreement. The new agreement addresses investment and
economic prosperity, oversight, and numerous other areas that will enhance our relationship for
the next twenty years and beyond.
I would also point to our embassy's Integrated Country Strategy, which cites the need to address
Palau's top priority: the existential threat from rising sea levels and increasing natural disasters.
The people of Palau are counting on the international community to unite with them in
confronting this challenge. If confirmed, I would continue to work closely with the Government
of Palau and other partners to support disaster preparedness and response.
Mr. Chairman, Ranking Member, and Members of the Committee, thank you again for your
consideration and the opportunity to appear before you today. I look forward to your comments
and questions.

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  • Demaris Kenwood
    published this page in Alumni Stories 2023-07-05 15:26:04 -0500