Bust Unveiling Ceremony with Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker, III
On April 4th, 2022, Secretary Blinken welcomed former Secretary James A. Baker III to officially unveil a bust in his likeness donated to the permanent collection of the National Museum of American Diplomacy (NMAD). A trustee and a major donor of the museum, Secretary Baker is also one of the signatories of the fragment of the Berlin Wall displayed in the lower concourse. The specially-commissioned bust by Swedish artist Johan Falkman was installed in the NMAD Pavilion on 21st Street, near the planned entrance to the main history hall of the museum. Secretary Baker’s tenure at the State Department took place during the collapse of the Soviet Union and the creation of 14 independent states, including Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Belarus.
This event was organized by NMAD in partnership with the Diplomacy Center Foundation (DCF) and the Baker Institute at Rice University. DCF Chairman of the Board Ambassador Thomas R. Pickering and DCF President Ambassador Roman Popadiuk attended along with guests of James Baker and other DCF board members. Pickering was the Ambassador to the United Nations during Secretary Baker’s tenure, and Ambassador Popadiuk was appointed the first Ambassador to Ukraine in 1992. The audience for the unveiling included DCF Board members, family and guests of former Secretary Baker, invited friends of NMAD, and guests of the artist and donor. Susan Cleary, the Acting Director of NMAD, opened the event. Secretary Blinken and Secretary Baker both gave remarks after they jointly unveiled the bust.
About NMAD and the Bust
NMAD is the only museum dedicated to telling the story of the history, challenges and practice of American diplomacy. NMAD has a long-standing private-public partnership with DCF, an NGO designed to support the museum through fundraising. Secretary James Baker has been a supporter of the museum and a sponsor through a large personal donation. The current glass pavilion at the 21st Street entrance was open in 2017, funded through private donations. NMAD, when complete, will include an additional 20,000+ sq feet of exhibits. The April 4th event is the official unveiling of the Baker bronze bust and was created for the museum by Swedish artist and sculptor Johan Falkman. It was donated by Swedish philanthropists Dan and Christin Olofsson to NMAD and installed in the historic lobby in 2021. The previously scheduled unveiling was postponed due to COVID-19 and was revived for this occasion.
Biography of James A. Baker, III
James A. Baker, III, has served in senior government positions under three United States presidents. He served as the nation’s 61st secretary of state from January 1989 through August 1992 under President George H.W. Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post-Cold War era. From 1981 to 1985, Baker served as White House Chief of Staff to President Ronald Reagan. He later served as the 67th secretary of the treasury from 1985 to 1988 under President Reagan and was the chairman of the President’s Economic Policy Council. Baker’s record of public service began in 1975 as under-secretary of commerce to President Gerald Ford. It concluded with his service as White House chief of staff and senior counselor to President Bush from August 1992 to January 1993. Long active in American presidential politics, Baker led presidential campaigns for Presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992. A native Houstonian, Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, he entered The University of Texas School of Law at Austin. He received his J.D. with honors in 1957 and practiced law with the Houston firm of Andrews and Kurth from 1957 to 1975. Baker is presently a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts. He is the honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. Baker was born in Houston, Texas, in 1930. He and his wife Susan reside in Houston and have eight children and 17 grandchildren.