This evening I had dinner with Ambassador Anne Derse. Thirty years ago (no less) we studied together at the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), Bologna Center. Since SAIS, Anne has followed an illustrious career as a diplomat, serving notably as economic affairs counsellor at the US mission to the EU, where, amongst other interesting and influential tasks, she was the last US commissioner on the Tripartite Gold Commission (which adjudicated sovereign claims for ‘Nazi gold’). In 2004 she helped establish the new US embassy in Baghdad. She was US ambassador to Azerbaijan 2006-2009 and is now US ambassador to Lithuania. At the same time, Anne has raised a family of four great children. I am an unconditional admirer of my friend and contemporary’s career. Remember, a lot of top diplomatic postings are made through political patronage, but Anne has advanced purely on the basis of ability. She is an enlightened internationalist and a fully paid-up supporter (as am I) of international exchange programmes. She is, in every sense of the term, a good American friend.