Ambassador Constance Albanese Morella was recently Awarded the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star by the Government of Japan. The award was presented by the U.S. Ambassador of Japan, Kenichiro Sasae at a ceremony held on September 29, 2016, at the Ambassador’s residence.
In conferring the award, the Japanese Ambassador noted that Ambassador Morella nurtured Japan-U.S. legislative exchange and contributed to deepening the Japan-U.S. alliance through the promotion of enhanced understanding of Japan in the U.S. Congress.
Ambassador Morella served in the U.S. Congress for sixteen years after being first elected in 1986. During her tenure in an increasingly polarized Congress, she was a leader in promoting bipartisanship and served as a leading moderate republican in the House. After her retirement from the U.S. House of Representatives in 2003, she was appointed as the U.S. Ambassador to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation & Development (OECD) from 2003 to 2007, becoming the first female U.S. Ambassador to the OECD. On her watch as Ambassador to the OECD, she successfully enhanced cooperation between Japan and the U.S., the two largest donors of the OECD, and contributed to empowering Japan’s status on the international stage.
After arriving at the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress in 2008, she served as its President, starting in 2012, and took the leading role in planning roundtable discussions on Capitol Hill on the Japan-U.S. alliance and East Asia, facilitating meetings between visiting Japanese Diet members and U.S. Members of Congress, and establishing the Study Tour to Japan for both Members of Congress and Congressional staffers.
Currently serving as Past President of the Association, she continues to support the works of the Congressional Study Group on Japan. As one of the pioneers in women’s leadership, Ambassador Morella now speaks often in both Japan and the U.S. about the importance of empowering women in the society, echoing Japan’s recent efforts to achieve “A Society in which All Women Shine.”
This prestigious award is the second highest honor In given by the Government of Japan. The Order of the Rising Sun was established in 1875.
Ambassador Morella is active in the Italian-American community in the Washington D.C. area, and is an honorary member of the Lido Civic Club.
(Photo courtesy Darlene DiBattista)