Ambassador Alphonse La Porta was awarded Mongolia’s highest honor for a non-Mongolian citizen, the Order of the Polar Star. A ceremony was conducted at the Mongolian Embassy to the United States in Washington DC on April 28, 2017, where the Mongolian Ambassador to the United States presented the award on behalf of President Elbegdorj.
The award recognizes more than twenty years of service and commitment to Mongolia, beginning with Ambassador La Porta’s tenure as Ambassador of the United States to Mongolia from 1997 to 2000 and continuing through a decade of service to Friends of Mongolia. Ambassador La Porta was instrumental to the growth of Friends of Mongolia, serving as a member of the Board of Directors from 2004 to 2014, including several years as Chairman.
Patrick Sommerville, founding officer of Friends of Mongolia and current Board Member attended the event on behalf of FOM, commenting “Ambassador La Porta’s service and dedication to educational and cultural exchange between the United States and Mongolia, the core mission of FOM, is unmatched among diplomats of his stature. We can attribute a great share of Friends of Mongolia’s growth from our founding in 1999 to his tireless efforts, convening power, modesty and enthusiasm for sharing our cross-cultural narratives.”
Ambassador La Porta, flanked by his wife Ann and other family members, was noticeably moved at receiving the award. Asked to comment on the honor, he said: “I am deeply honored with this honor conferred by President Elbegdorj and awarded by Ambassador Altangerel who has proved to be a strong friend of the United States. My time in Mongolia in 1997-2000, I believe, was important for democratic government and launching Mongolia on a clear track of modernization. I am gratified that Mongolian society has indeed progressed and Mongolia is indeed free.”