Ambassador to South Korea, a Former Leahy Aide, Injured in Attack | Off Message

Ambassador to South Korea, a Former Leahy Aide, Injured in Attack


  • Embassy of the United States Seoul Korea
  • Ambassador Mark Lippert
Mark Lippert, the U.S. ambassador to South Korea who was injured in a knife attack in Seoul early Thursday, has ties to Vermont.

From 2000 to 2005, Lippert served as a foreign policy adviser to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on the Senate Appropriations Committee. There, he met his wife, Robyn Schmidek Lippert, a Vermont native and graduate of the University of Vermont. The couple had a son, Sejun, in January, according to Ambassador Lippert's blog.

Lippert was attacked at a restaurant near the American Embassy Thursday morning ahead of a speech he was scheduled to deliver to the Korean Council for Reconciliation and Cooperation, according to news reports. He sustained non-life-threatening injuries to his right cheek, arm and hand. Lippert underwent surgery and was listed in stable condition. A suspect was taken into custody.

"Doing well&in great spirits!," Lippert wrote on Twitter after the attack. "Robyn, Sejun, Grigsby & I - deeply moved by the support! Will be back ASAP to advance US-ROK alliance!"

Ambassador Lippert (right) with Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama. - AMBASSADOR LIPPERT'S BLOG
  • Ambassador Lippert's blog
  • Ambassador Lippert (right) with Secretary of State John Kerry and President Obama.
Leahy issued a statement Thursday offering support from him and his wife: "Marcelle and I are heartsick about news reports about the senseless attack on Mark. Our prayers are with him and with Robyn, Sejun and their families. He is as devoted a public servant as they come, a great credit to both of our countries."

An Ohio native and Navy Reserve officer, Lippert left Leahy's staff in 2005 to become a foreign policy adviser to then-senator Barack Obama. After working for Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, he served as a deputy assistant to the president and chief of staff to the National Security Council. Lippert later served as assistant secretary of defense for Asian and Pacific Security Affairs and as chief of staff to secretary of defense Chuck Hagel. He was sworn in as ambassador to South Korea last October.

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