In April, Carmen McEvoy, the Sewanee History Department’s specialist in Latin America, was in her native Peru. She was winding up a sabbatical year, preparing to return to Sewanee for the 2017-18 academic year, when she got an unexpected phone call.
On the other end of the line was the foreign minister of Peru.
He had an even more unexpected question: Would McEvoy would be willing to consider taking a leave of absence from her teaching and research to move to Dublin to become the country’s first-ever ambassador to Ireland? Peru’s president, Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, thought she would be a good choice, and had instructed the minister to sound her out.
“This was completely a surprise,” says McEvoy. “I had never met [Kuczynski] in my life.”
McEvoy discussed the unusual offer with her husband, Enrique Madico, and their daughter and son, both of whom live in the United States with their own families. When everyone agreed that she should explore the offer, she consulted her Sewanee colleagues and the dean, and gained the University’s blessing for a three-and-a-half year leave of absence. McEvoy accepted the post and then she and Madico hosted the minister of foreign affairs at their house for a lunch to learn more about her mission. Her granddaughters, Juliana and Emma, are particularly excited about the appointment: They’re planning a visit to look for leprechauns.
At the close of the current Advent Semester, instead of preparing for Christmas in Sewanee, McEvoy and Madico will be packing. Then, early in 2018, she will be driven in a ceremonial carriage to the official residence of the president of Ireland, where she will present her credentials as Peru’s first resident envoy to the Republic.
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