Author

Jean Kennedy Smith

diplomat and ambassador from the United States

1928   -  

country of citizenship: United States of America
educated at: Manhattanville College
occupation: diplomat
award received: Presidential Medal of Freedom
position held: ambassador

Jean Ann Kennedy Smith (born February 20, 1928) is an American diplomat, activist, humanitarian, and author who served as United States Ambassador to Ireland from 1993 to 1998. She is the eighth of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald, and is their last surviving child. Her siblings included President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, Senator Ted Kennedy, and Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy Shriver. As Ambassador to Ireland, Smith was instrumental in the Northern Ireland peace process as President Bill Clinton's representative in Dublin. She was heavily criticized after urging the U.S. government to grant a visa to Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams, although her family would claim that this step influenced the IRA in its declaration of a ceasefire in 1994. Irish President Mary McAleese conferred honorary Irish citizenship on Smith in 1998 in recognition of her service to the country. Smith is the founder of Very Special Arts (VSA), an internationally recognized non-profit dedicated to creating a society where people with disabilities can engage with the arts. In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama for her work with VSA and with people with disabilities.
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