Past Global Perspectives Guest Speaker
A native of New York City, Ambassador Penner joined the U.S. Department of State as a career diplomat in 1963 and subsequently specialized in political/military relations, program direction and consular affairs. He served seven tours in Europe including assignments in Frankfurt, Warsaw, Oporto, and Zurich. He also spent two years in Kobe-Osaka, Japan and served as chief of liaison to the International Control Commission in Viet Nam in 1973. He was appointed Deputy Assistant Secretary of State as Director of the Visa Office in the State Department in Washington in 1983. Three years later, Vern was confirmed as Ambassador to the Republic of Cape Verde where he served until 1990.
During his tour in Cape Verde, he was the first US Ambassador to visit all the inhabited islands by sailboat or local plane and, with his academic background in history, he contributed to several archeological discoveries including 17th century Hebraic tombs and early 19th century grave markers of deceased US Navy seamen.Vern also established the first Peace Corps Program in the islands recognized as one of the most successful in Africa.
Vern's foreign languages include German, Polish and Portuguese and he has received a number of awards and special recognition from foreign governments and the US Departments of State and Defense. He continues to be an avid sailor, skier, hiker and diver. He is married to the former Dorothy Anne Skripak (who was coach of the National Tennis Team of Cape Verde) and has two grown children.
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