According to a Foreign Ministry release, His Excellency Mr. George S. V. Patten, Sr. and Ambassador Jervis A. Witherspoon, Sr. where commissioned at a ceremony in the Cabinet Room of the President’s temporary office at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday, August 11, 2016.
During the brief ceremony, witnessed by colleagues, relatives and friends of the honorees, President Sirleaf admonished them to provide service of integrity, commitment and understanding to the Republic and the people of Liberia. She thanked the families and associates for giving them their support to enable them reach this level of service.
Speaking earlier, Ambassador Patten assured President Sirleaf that as Liberia’s representative, he will endeavor to work assiduously not only in strengthening the presence of Liberia and building upon the efforts that she has made over the years, but will also strive to enhance the bilateral ties for the benefit of the country.
He reiterated that Liberia’s position in the comity of nations continues to be shaped by the strong leadership that President Sirleaf provides; recalling when he was a junior officer in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia many years ago and having to endure the unpleasant experience of sitting in Liberia’s seat but not being able to express the views and concerns of the country due to sanctions.
“This debilitating experience characterized the complexities our country and people faced,” Ambassador Patten remembered.
The Liberian diplomat indicated that since the ascendancy of President Sirleaf, the country’s diplomatic history has regained its enviable place in the sub-region, on the continent and in the wider international community. “I thank you immensely for making our country a proud nation again,” Patten told the Liberian President.
On behalf of his colleague, Ambassador Patten thanked the Liberian President for the confidence reposed in them to continue to serve this government and the country at such high level. He also thanked Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara and other officials of the Ministry for the faith and trust reposed in them to execute the duties assigned to them.
Ambassador Patten joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as a research assistant in 1988. In 1992, he was appointed First Secretary and Consul to the newly established Embassy of Liberia in the Gambia with concurrent accreditation to Senegal and Guinea Bissau. He was later transferred to the Embassy near Tripoli, Libya in 1998.
In 2005, Ambassador Patten was appointed Counselor at the Embassy in the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia; and in 2010, transferred to Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations in New York with elevation to the rank of Minister Counselor.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Mr. Patten served as Chargé d’Affaires, a.i., at the Permanent Mission of Liberia to the United Nations in New York.
As regards Ambassador Witherspoon, he served as religious advisor to President Sirleaf prior to his appointment.