Former U.S. Ambassador April H. Foley

  • 10 Jan 2009 11:00 AM
Former U.S. Ambassador  April H. Foley
"Former US Ambassador to Hungary, April H. Foley has had an extensive career in professional management. Most recently, she served as First Vice President and Vice Chairman of the Export-Import Bank of the US.

Prior to that, she served as a member of the Board of Directors of Ex-Im Bank. She worked for 17 years as an executive for PepsiCo in roles including strategic planning, financial management, and mergers and acquisitions. She also worked for Pfizer and The Reader's Digest.

In addition to her business experience, she has held significant volunteer leadership positions. She was Co-Chair of the Special Gifts Committee for Smith College's capital campaign. She was a member of the Board of Directors of the CPR Institute for Dispute Resolution.

She was President of United Way of Northern Westchester. She was Chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of Westchester/Putnam Counties. She was Co-Chair of the Friends of the Northern Westchester Shelter.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Smith College and an MBA from Harvard University. She is a widow with three children, Catherine, Giff, and James."

1. When did you arrive in Hungary and what brought you here?
President Bush appointed me to be US Ambassador to Hungary. On August 10, 2006, I arrived in beautiful Budapest.

2. Have you ever been an expatriate elsewhere?
Yes. After I graduated from university, I lived in Costa Rica, the Canary Islands, and Liberia.

3. What surprised you most about Hungary?
Hungarians love to engage intellectually. They are very open to ideas, to different ways of thinking about things. And they're extremely intelligent.

4. Friends are in Budapest for a weekend--what must they absolutely see and do?
In Budapest, Hösök Tere is a must. Many of them like the Szécheny Baths and the Fine Arts Museum. It's always fun to walk around the Castle District - Halász Bástya, Mátyás Templom, the National Museum, the little kiosks that sell Hungarian linens and needlework. Statue Park and the Terror Háza give them a great sense of Hungary's history. St Stephen's Basilica is always awesome. Parliament. The Herend shop, the Ajka shop.

I love to take them to Eger to the Fehérszarvas Vadásztanya Eger for a wild game lunch with great Hungarian wines like Gál Tibor or XY, and to see the minaret, the Cathedral, the statue of the Turks, and the view of the city from up on the castle hill.

I also love to take them to Szentendre to have a leisurely lunch at the Rab Raby Restaurant. Everyone loves shopping in the Herend store there, visiting the little shops, the Serbian church, walking along the banks of the Danube, and stopping for a beer at one of the little public houses near the water.

5. What is your favorite Hungarian food?
Filet mignon cooked rare, topped with goose liver and tokaj sauce.

6. What is never missing from your refrigerator?
Diet Pepsi.

7. What is your favorite Hungarian word?

8. What do you miss the most from home?
The magnolia tree blossoming in springtime outside my bedroom window.

9. What career other than yours would you love to pursue?
I've been a business executive and now an ambassador. It would be fun to do something completely different, like being a chef. I love to cook.

10. What's a job you would definitely never want?
Rock climbing teacher.

11. Where did you spend your last vacation?
Kiev, Ukraine

12. Where do you hope to spend your next one?

13. What was your favorite band, film, or hobby as a teen?
Band: The Rolling Stones
Film: Seventh Seal
Hobby: Sewing

14. What can't you resist?
Gorgonzola cheese

15. Red wine or white?
Red - I love the Bock reds too.

16. Book or movie?
Book- Just read Washington's Crossing that won the Pulitzer Prize in History. Great book!
"The Lives of Others" was an excellent movie.

17. Morning person or night person?

18. Dog person or cat person?
Dog - Black labs are the best.

19. Buda side or Pest side?

20. What would you say is your personal motto?
Semper fidelis, which roughly translates as "Always faithful" or "Always true"

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