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William Alan Eaton Succeeded Linda Watt as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America to the Republic of Panama

William Alan Eaton


Nominated by President George Bush May 10, 2005, to replace Linda Watt as Ambassador to Panama and confirmed by the U.S. Senate May 26, William Alan Eaton arrived in Panama September 8 and presented his credentials to Panamanian President Martin Torrijos on September 9, 2005. 

In his remarks after presenting his credentials to President Torrijos, Eaton noted that Panama, not only blessed by geography as the crossroads of the world, is also a place where the vital interests of Panama and the United States coincide, noting that the shared commitment by the two nations to regional peace and security, economic prosperity, and democratic government is borne out of shared interests and also shared values of the two nations.  He noted that a year ago Secretary of State (Colin Powell) attended Torrijos' inauguration as president and that Torrijos at that time expressed his strong commitment to social justice; to a better, more efficient and more transparent government; and to a zero tolerance for corruption.  Eaton assured Torrijos that the United States Government shares his dedication to these noble goals and that he as Ambassador and his government will continue helping him in the pursuit of  those goals.  He also thanked the Government of Panama and its people for extending their condolences and offers of humanitarian assistance to the United States following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.  (Eaton's complete remarks are at http://usembassy.state.gov/panama/credentials/htm)

A career member of the Senior Foreign Service, Eaton served as Assistant Secretary for Administration at the Department of State before his assignment in Panama. He previously served as Executive Director of the Bureau of European Affairs at the Department of State. Earlier in his career, Eaton worked in various offices in the State Department, including the Office of the Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary for Management and the Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Diplomatic Security. He has also served in various positions at U.S. Missions in Guyana, the Soviet Union, Italy, and Turkey. He earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Virginia.

Eaton, a Minister-Counselor in the career Senior Foreign Service, was sworn in as Assistant Secretary for Administration on July 13, 2001. As one of the Departmentís most senior career management officers, he has a strong record of leadership and management. He has served overseas in Georgetown, Moscow, Istanbul, Milan and Ankara. In Washington, he has served in a wide variety of inter-functional positions, including in the Office of the Deputy Secretary, Under Secretary for Management and the Assistant Secretaries for Administration and Diplomatic Security.

Outside the State Department, Eaton won a Virginia Press Association award in 1978 for journalistic excellence. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army, serving, among other places, in South Korea. He left the Foreign Service for 3 years and served as Executive Director and Director of International Operations for the Young Presidentsí Organization, an international association of young chief executive officers of multi-million-dollar companies in nearly 80 countries around the globe; in this position, he led a $3-million turnaround of the organization and, through effective leadership and recruitment, cut staff turnover from 48 percent annually to virtually nil.

Eaton demonstrated his skills as political analyst and negotiator as political officer in Georgetown, Guyana and leading successful negotiations with Russia, Ukraine, the European Union, Canada and Sweden to establish science centers in Moscow and Kiev for former weapons scientists. He was graduated magna cum laude in International Relations from the University of Virginia. A gifted linguist, he speaks Spanish, Turkish, Russian, Dutch and Italian. He is a recipient of the 2004 Presidential Distinguished Service Award, The Departmentís Arnold Raphel Award for Mentoring, 2001 Presidential Meritorious Service Award, 2004 Honorary National Distinguished Principal Award for leadership in international education and the Departmentís Leamon R. Hunt Award for Administrative Excellence.

Mr. Eaton is a native of Winchester, Virginia.

(Based on American Embassy news releases May and September 2005 from its website at  http://usembassy.state.gov/panama/)

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William H. Ormsbee, Jr.   2005