Miss Diplomatic Manners

Monday, October 8, 2007

After what was surely an etiquette-sanctioned interlude, Nancy G. Brinker will be ceremonially sworn in Wednesday as chief of protocol of the United States, a few weeks after her Sept. 14 formal swearing-in. Laura Bush is set to attend the festivities.

As the Office of the Chief of Protocol Web site helpfully points out, "Since the time of the Egyptian pharaohs, there have been government officials in charge of diplomatic conduct," so the tradition Brinker carries on is "more than 3,000" years old.

Today, protocol duties include advising on codes of conduct around the world, accompanying the president on official visits abroad and serving as his liaison to foreign ambassadors in Washington. Brinker's office is also responsible for hosting visits from heads of government and managing Blair House, the official presidential guesthouse.

It has been a busy start for the new chief: Just last week Bush met with Lebanese parliament member Saad Hariri and Iraqi President Jalal Talabani.

Brinker has served as U.S. ambassador to Hungary, and she founded Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a breast cancer research and fundraising organization named after Brinker's sister, who died from the disease.

She takes over for Donald Ensenat, Bush's Yale friend and fraternity brother, who resigned in February.

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