Sunnylands congratulates John Kerry for his Medal of Freedom honor

Friday, May 3, 2024

The Annenberg Foundation Trust at Sunnylands congratulates former U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry as a new recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.

Kerry has played key roles in Sunnylands events in recent years. As Secretary of State, Kerry was one of the chief negotiators in the 2013 summit at Sunnylands between then-President Barack Obama and the president of China, Xi Jinping. He was also on hand to greet 11 foreign heads of state to Sunnylands three years later, when President Obama convened the first-ever gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) on U.S. soil.

More recently, as President Joseph Biden’s special presidential envoy for climate, Kerry spent four days at Sunnylands in November to negotiate a landmark climate agreement with his Chinese counterpart, Xie Zhenhua. The accord, known as the Sunnylands Statement, accelerates the two countries’ move away from fossil fuels.   

“John Kerry dedicated his life to public service as a Vietnam War veteran, U.S. senator, and Secretary of State,” said Sunnylands President David Lane. “He is more than worthy to be recognized with the Medal of Freedom.”

The White House announced Friday that Kerry is one of 19 recipients of the Medal of Freedom this year.   

Kerry negotiated the climate agreement with China at Sunnylands before he stepped down as Biden’s climate envoy in January. The agreement by both countries to reduce methane emissions is credited with the success of the global climate negotiations in Dubai in December 2023.