Former ambassador Caroline Kennedy, the only surviving child of the late US president John F. Kennedy, arrived in the Philippines yesterday for a two-day visit as part of her ongoing project aimed at connecting young poets across the globe.
The 60-year-old former US envoy to Japan said this is her first trip to the Philippines.
Accompanied by US ambassador Sung Kim, Kennedy paid her respects to Filipino and American soldiers who were killed during the World War II in the Philippines at the Manila American Cemetery and Memorial in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig City.
“This is my first trip to the Philippines and I very much wanted to visit this country, which has quite an important role in American history,” Kennedy told select Filipino journalists.
“[I] have so many wonderful memories of all the Filipino people who served my father in the White House and I know that there were some crewmembers who were memorialized here so I wanted to come and pay respects,” she added.
Kennedy, who was welcomed by Manila American Cemetery superintendent Larry Adkison, walked through the memorial walls inscribed with names of fallen American and Filipinos soldiers.
The tour lasted for almost 40 minutes.
Kennedy also said she wanted to come to the Philippines because of her “great admiration” for Kim, who started his tour of duty in Manila in 2016.
“Well, I have great admiration to the American ambassador serving here now,” she said, referring to Kim who was standing behind her.
“I’m very excited to be here and look forward to a great couple of days,” she added.
Kennedy is scheduled to visit today a school in Manila, which will be part of her poetry exchange program.
She started the program in Japan during her term as ambassador from 2013 to 2017. The program is also being implemented in South Korea.
Kennedy was the first woman to serve as US ambassador to Japan.
A graduate of Harvard University and Columbia Law School, Kennedy is also the author of seven bestselling books on civil rights, American history, politics and poetry.
Kennedy also worked at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she met her husband Edwin Schlossberg, an interactive media designer.
She also serves as president of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing financial support, staffing and creative resources to the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.
Meanwhile, the US embassy in Manila also confirmed yesterday the meeting between Kennedy and the Aquino sisters.
In a press conference last week, television host Kris Aquino announced their meeting with the former US diplomat.
Aquino and Kennedy share similar backgrounds since both are children of their country’s president and both their fathers were assassinated when they were young.
Aquino said her father, the late senator Benigno Aquino, admired the late John Kennedy.
Kennedy also presented Aquino’s late mother former President Corazon Aquino a bust of her father during their meeting on Sept. 20, 1986 at the John F. Kennedy Memorial Library. (PS)