Randy W. Berry
|United States Ambassador to Nepal|
|Assumed office |
October 25, 2018
|Preceded by||Alaina Teplitz|
|United States Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons|
April 13, 2015 – November, 2017
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Born||1965 (age 53–54)|
|Alma mater||Bethany College, Kansas|
Randy William Berry (born 1965) is an American diplomat. He served as the first Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons in the United States Department of State, as well as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. He was nominated to be the next U.S. Ambassador to Nepal by President Donald Trump in May 2018 and confirmed by the Senate on September 6, 2018. Berry presented his credentials to Nepali President Bidya Devi Bhandari on October 25, 2018.
Early life and education
Berry worked for America West Airlines in Phoenix, Arizona, where he was employed as an international training manager. He joined the United States Foreign Service in 1993, serving as a diplomat in Nepal, Bangladesh, Egypt, South Africa, and Uganda. He was Deputy Chief of Mission of the United States Embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal, from 2007 to 2009 and then served as United States Consul General in Auckland, New Zealand, from 2009 to 2012. He was Consul General in Amsterdam from 2012 to 2015.
Berry has served as the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons since April 13, 2015. This position was created after Democratic Congressman Alan Lowenthal of California and Democratic Senator Edward Markey called for it; it was announced by Secretary of State John Kerry in February 2015. Two months later, Berry was appointed to that office. Some analysts suggested Berry should have been appointed to the higher rank of ambassador. At the start of his term, Berry idenfitied his broad goal as "in essence, to strengthen partnerships with countries that are like-minded on the issue, try to make progress in countries that are seemingly on the fence about gay rights, and do what's feasible in countries where there's overt hostility."
In his first year as Special Envoy, Berry traveled to 42 countries in an effort to ensure that LGBTI persons everywhere are afforded equal rights under the law. He has also identified combatting violence and discrimination against LGBTI persons as a key priority for his tenure. He began his term as Special Envoy by focusing on supporting LGBTI rights in South America. He also argued that police resources in repressive homophobic societies like Uganda, infamous for its Kill the Gays bill, should be redirected towards combatting terrorism, not harassing their LGBTI citizens.
Berry's 2015 meeting with Vatican officials from the Holy See's Secretary of State office garnered significant media attention given that the Catholic Church's holds the position that gay and lesbian sexual behavior a sin and restricts marriage to unions of one man and one woman. Berry addressed questions about his engagement at the Vatican by clarifying that "We were not there to talk about issues of civil unions or same-sex marriage, for example, because that is not part of our policy." Instead, Berry said he hoped his meeting with Church officials would highlight "issues of violence and extreme discrimination are of concern to us all."
At the conclusion of his first year in office, on April 20, 2016, Berry briefed reporters at the State Department's daily press briefing to outline his priorities for the second year of his term. During that briefing, he said that one of his major priorities for the coming year would be to combat anti-LBGTI violence around the world and that the State Department "will work" with other branches of the U.S. Government, including the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as "other agencies to leverage opportunities to reduce and prevent violence, share best practices and challenges and provide technical resources where we can."
The Obama administration, on January 20, 2017, also named Berry Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor. On February 13, the State Department announced that Berry would continue in that position as well as that of Special Envoy in the Trump administration. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, called the appointment "a disappointing development" and said that "Keeping Berry only signals to the world that the extreme agenda of the Obama years is still deeply entrenched in the State Department". The conservative Family Research Council had made removing such "activists" a priority and as recently as December called on the State Department to rid itself of employees who promote an "anti-family, anti-life agenda."  A spokesperson for the Trump transition team responded to media outlets saying that any suggestion "that discrimination of any kind will be condoned or tolerated in a Trump administration is simply absurd."
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Randy W. Berry.|
|New office|| United States Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons
| United States Ambassador to Nepal