Yes, it’s true: Suzi LeVine, a former Microsoft and Expedia executive, non-profit leader and new U.S. ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, took the oath of office using a Kindle loaded up with a copy of the U.S. Constitution, as she was sworn in by VP Joe Biden.
It’s believed to be a first for U.S. ambassadors, and no, it wasn’t a paid Amazon product placement.
So why did she do it? Here’s an excerpt from Levine’s remarks at the swearing-in ceremony, in which she explains her reasoning (without mentioning the Kindle brand name.)
As you just saw, I chose to do my oath over an electronic copy of the Constitution on my e-Reader. I did that for three reasons.
(One) It was what I had
(Two) As cool as a copy of the Constitution from the 18th century would have been, I wanted to use a copy that is from the 21st century and that reflects my passion for technology and my hope for the future
(Three) Most importantly, it symbolizes for me the very best of our nation – especially around innovation, entrepreneurship and the voice that each of us has in our democracy. For example:
1. Think about how forward thinking our founding fathers were when they penned the original document – designing something that could adapt to the changing needs and conditions in our great nation. I love that, in the digital copy – it shows, in line, where amendments affect articles and sections and literally demonstrates the portability of the constitution.
2. Or, think about how, instead of parchment and/or pages, I can have a full copy on a tiny little device designed and developed in the United States
3. Or, how, through “highlights” that can be added to the digital text, every reader can add their voice– just as how the Constitution itself codifies that every individual has a voice in our nation.
In other words – as one of, if not THE first person to take this oath over an electronic device, I am honoring American Innovation, entrepreneurship and the fact that each citizen has a voice in our democracy – and more and more tools through which to make that voice heard!
So there you have it! The ceremony took place on Friday, and LeVine started in the position today. Here’s a picture of the (historic?) moment for e-readers.
— U.S. Embassy London (@USAinUK) June 2, 2014