Jean Ann Smith is an American diplomat and a former United States Ambassador to Ireland. She is the eighth of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr. and Rose Fitzgerald and is their last surviving child. Her siblings include President John F. Kennedy, Senator Robert F. Kennedy, longtime Senator Ted Kennedy, and Special Olympics founder Eunice Kennedy.
Smith is the founder of Very Special Arts, an internationally recognized non-profit dedicated to creating a society where those with disabilities can engage with the arts. In 2011, she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nationâ€™s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama for her work with VSA and the disabled.
As Ambassador to Ireland from 1993-1998, Smith was instrumental to the Northern Ireland peace process as President Bill Clinton's representative in Dublin. She successfully advocated for the U.S. government to grant a visa to Sinn FÃ©in President Gerry Adams which directly led to the IRA declaring a ceasefire in 1994. Irish President Mary McAleese conferred honorary Irish citizenship on Smith in 1998 in recognition of her service to the island.