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Obituary: Ambassador of Luxembourg Jean-Louis Wolzfeld

By David Jahng

Former Ambassador of Luxembourg Jean-Louis Wolzfeld passed away on Oct. 14 in Luxembourg at the age of 67. Wolzfeld served as ambassador in Washington, D.C., from September 2012 until his retirement in July 2016. He had previously held a variety of positions in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, including as director for political affairs as well as ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Sylvie Lucas, the current ambassador of Luxembourg to the U.S., served under Wolzfeld during his time as permanent representative to the United Nations in New York and after his return to the Foreign Ministry in Luxembourg. She described him as a “very kind, very knowledgeable man, and he represented our country in a marvelous way. It was very sad that only two years after his retirement he passed away unexpectedly,” she said. “He will be truly missed by all of us at the Luxembourg Embassy.”

Sweden Nobel
Coach Kathy Kemper of the Institute for Education (IFE), Ambassador of Luxembourg Jean-Louis Wolzfeld, U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith and Ambassador of Italy Claudio Bisogniergo attend the IFE Champagne Holiday Kickoff hosted by Kemper in 2015. Wolzfeld retired in July 2016 and passed away this October at the age of 67. Photo: Institute for Education

Born in July 1951 in Luxembourg, Wolzfeld joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 1977 after earning his undergraduate degree at the Institute of Translation and Interpretation at the University of the Sarre in Germany, followed by two master’s degrees from the University of Paris in international public law and European law.

Shortly after joining the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wolzfeld served in the Directorate for International Economic Relations. From 1981 to 1986, he was deputy permanent representative to the International Organizations in Geneva, serving as vice president of the Contracting Parties of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986.

In 1987, Wolzfeld became Luxembourg’s first ambassador to Japan, with concurrent accreditation to South Korea. Wolzfeld then served as Luxembourg’s permanent representative to the United Nations in New York from 1993 to 1998.

After that, Wolzfeld returned to Luxembourg to become director for political affairs. He then served as ambassador to the United Kingdom, with concurrent accreditation to Ireland and Iceland. Prior to coming to the United States, he was for four years posted as ambassador to Italy, Malta and San Marino, with residence in Rome.

Ambassador Wolzfeld spoke French, English, German, Italian, Spanish and Luxembourgish, and his hobbies included reading, painting and traveling.

Jerome Barry, director of the Embassy Series, a concert program that regularly hosted performances at the Embassy of Luxembourg, described Wolzfeld as a great friend and “a consummate diplomat.”

“He was always so receptive to making Luxembourg and its embassy in Washington a special place, one where people loved to come and appreciate Luxembourgish hospitality. He made it his mission to connect with the American people and we all loved him. Highly intelligent and articulate in many languages, he was always accessible to everyone and left behind a legacy that people are always talking about. We will always nurture fond memories of his kindness and high sense of the value of solid diplomacy,” Barry said.

He added: “Yes, Luxembourg is a small country, but it has a large footprint because of diplomats like Jean-Louis Wolzfeld. May his memory serve as a conduit to deeper understanding between all peoples.”


David Jahng is an editorial intern for The Washington Diplomat.




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