TCK U.S. Politician John Kerry: How His Background Contributed to His Political Success

John Kerry on panel. Free via Creative Commons License. Photographer: Ralph Alswang.

John Kerry’s Background: Childhood Into Adulthood

John Kerry’s background has substantially influenced his career and made life as a politician more understandable. At seventy-seven years old, Kerry has certainly lived a reputable life. He grew up as a Third Culture Kid Military B.R.A.T. He traveled around with his family and spent time in the United States and Switzerland where he grew up. Although he had basic human interests such as sports, he truly fascinated over politics. This fascination led him to the career path that he eventually became wrapped up in.

After graduating from Yale University in 1966, he joined the U.S. Navy. He thrived in this program and eventually earned lieutenant status. After returning from Vietnam, he spent some time practicing law at Boston College Law School. Once he practiced law for a while, he began pursuing his political career.

Into the Political Arena

Kerry giving a speech at Chatham House.
John Kerry at Chatham House. Free via Creative Commons License. Photographer: Suzanne Plunkett

In 1984, Kerry became the lieutenant governor of Massachusetts where he served three terms. While he served, he dealt with international affairs. Being an ATCK undoubtedly has assisted him during his time in politics through dealing with and understanding other cultures. In addition, he speaks French, Italian, Portuguese, German and Spanish. Knowing six languages has allowed him to strive as a politician through working with international affairs. He is intertwined in a career path that allows him to use his experience and skills to benefit other people.

After his time serving as Massachusetts governor, Kerry took over Hillary Clinton’s job as secretary of state. Obama’s recommendation assisted him in this process and the two worked alongside each other until 2017. This year, according to Jennifer Ludden from NPR, in “John Kerry Tapped for Newly Created Role as Presidential Climate Envoy”, “Kerry has been tapped for a newly created post — special presidential envoy for climate, based on the National Security Council” Ludden states.  

“America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is. I’m proud to partner with the President-elect, our allies, and the young leaders of the climate movement to take on this crisis as the President’s Climate Envoy.”

John Kerry via Twitter, November 23, 2020.

Going Green

Kerry at press conference expressing opinions.
Press Conference after the Geneva II Conference on Syria. Free via Creative Commons License. Photographer: Eric Bridiers.

Kerry lets his passion shine through when it comes to advocating for climate change. Recently, Kerry traveled to China to convince them to act accordingly with climate change. According to Roger Harrabin from BBC News, in article “US envoy John Kerry woos China over climate” after Kerry’s visit, China “has pledged to peak its emissions by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2060 (that means cutting out all carbon emissions from fossil fuels but still allowing farm emissions of methane – another planet-heating gas)” Harrabin states. Working internationally goes hand in hand with Kerry’s childhood as a TCK. Closing deals seems to come more easily to Kerry than other politicians.

Kerry’s Job Correlation

Through John Kerry’s background in Switzerland and the US as a TCK, the tasks he took on during his political career just made sense. His background adequately coincided well with his career choice and he in turn succeeded as a politician. From being a Military B.R.A.T as a kid, to working in the Navy, to being a lawyer and a politician, Kerry has done it all.

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