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FMU to host United Nations Symposium featuring U.S. Ambassadors

Ambassadors John R. Bolton and Andrew J. Young will headline Francis Marion University’s first United Nations Symposium sponsored by the Drs. Bruce and Lee Foundation to begin on United Nations Day Oct. 24 and conclude on Oct 26. David Wilkins, U.S. Ambassador to Canada, will serve as a keynote speaker at the symposium.

The three-day symposium, the purpose of which is to analyze the global role of the United Nations, was organized by FMU Associate Professor of History Scott Kaufman and FMU Assistant Professor of Political Science Alissa Warters.

“Hosting this symposium will bring greater awareness and understanding to the U.S. public of the work of the United Nations,” Kaufman said. “In so doing, Americans can better judge in their mind the effectiveness of the U.N. in handling the variety of issues it faces.”

The focus of the symposium will be the three central aspects of the U.N.’s work: the promotion of human rights, peacekeeping and peacemaking, and the relationship between the U.N. and regional organizations.

“Part of the mission of Francis Marion as a public university serving South Carolina is to provide for growth in civic awareness,” Warters said. “We believe that this symposium serves this purpose. It will offer an opportunity for both FMU students and the public at large to learn more about the United Nations.”

The ambassadors were chosen to lead discussions on the topic because of their extensive knowledge of U.N. operations, she added.

Ambassador Bolton was appointed as U. S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations on August 1, 2005 and served until his resignation in December 2006. Prior to his appointment, Ambassador Bolton served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security from May 2001 to May 2005.

During his tenure at the U.N., Bolton was a tenacious and outspoken advocate of U.S. efforts to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, push Syria out of Lebanon and bring African peacekeepers into shaky Somalia. Bolton was very effective in North Korea, moving forward with a very strong sanction resolution through the U.N. Security Council within days of Pyongyang's Oct. 9, 2006 nuclear test. Bolton also assembled an international coalition that blocked the bid of Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's Marxist strongman, to join the Security Council.

Bolton has spent many years of his career in public service. Ambassador Bolton is also an attorney and author of Surrender is Not an Option: Defending America at the U.N. and Abroad.

Bolton was born in Baltimore, Md., on November 20, 1948. He graduated with a B.A., summa cum laude, from Yale University and received his J.D. in 1974. He currently resides in Maryland with his wife, Gretchen.

Ambassador Young was a leading civil-rights activist in the 1960s who became a trusted aide to Martin Luther King Jr. He was instrumental in organizing voter registration and desegregation campaigns in Albany; Birmingham and Selma, Ala.; and Washington, D.C., among other places. He was with King when the civil rights leader was assassinated in Memphis, Tenn., on April 4, 1968.

The Democrat from Georgia served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1973–77, making him the first African American since Reconstruction to be elected to Congress from Georgia. 

While in Congress, Young championed the causes of poor and working-class Americans and opposed efforts to increase military budgets.

He supported the 1976 presidential campaign of Jimmy Carter, and in 1977 Carter named Young ambassador to the United Nations. Young helped Carter transform the basis of American foreign policy, making human rights a central focus and arguing that economic development in the Third World, particularly in Africa, was in the best interest of the United States. Young was among the first to call for sanctions against the apartheid regime in South Africa, and he fought for U.S. recognition of Communist Vietnam.

Young graduated from Howard University in Washington, D.C., in 1951 with a bachelor of science degree in biology. He then earned a divinity degree from Hartford Theological Seminary in Connecticut and accepted the pastorate of Bethany Congregational Church in Thomasville, Ga., in 1955.

Young had four children with his first wife, Jean Childs, who died of cancer in 1994. He married his second wife, Carolyn, in 1996. Young has published two books, A Way Out of No Way (1994) and An Easy Burden: The Civil Rights Movement and the Transformation of America (1996).

Ambassador Wilkins became the 21st United States Ambassador to Canada in 2005 after being nominated by President George W. Bush on April 27, 2005. Wilkins resigned from the South Carolina House of Representatives where he served for 25 years, 11 of which were as speaker of the House, to accept the ambassadorship. 

Wilkins was elected speaker of the South Carolina House of Representatives in December 1994. He was the first Republican elected speaker in the South since Reconstruction and retired as one of the longest-serving speakers in the country.

Wilkins began his legislative career in 1980, where he quickly rose through the ranks in the House of Representatives, serving six years as chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and two years as speaker pro tem before being elected speaker.

In his 25 years in the Legislature, Wilkins has been on the cutting-edge of most major reform initiatives. He wrote or co-sponsored the legislation on welfare reform, property tax relief, education accountability, LIFE scholarships, judicial reform, government restructuring, and truth-in-sentencing. He was also instrumental in crafting South Carolina’s historic ethics bill and played a key role in the relocation of the Confederate flag and the fight to ban video gambling.

A native of Greenville, Wilkins graduated from Greenville High School and received his undergraduate degree from Clemson University and his law degree from the University of South Carolina School of Law. After service in the Army, he returned to Greenville where he practiced law for more than 30 years.

Wilkins and his wife have two sons.

The tentative schedules for the three-day event are as follows:

Day 1
Oct. 24

5-6:45 p.m.       Chapman Auditorium

Ambassadors Young and Bolton will give 30-minute lecture and discussion session

Day 2
Oct. 25

1:30-3:15 p.m.   Chapman Auditorium

Meet the Ambassadors Forum for Students.  This will be an opportunity for students to meet our visiting regional ambassadors and to ask questions.  While questions will be taken from the audience, students are also asked to submit questions in advance.  The ambassadors are:  Frank Crigler, former U.S. ambassador to Somalia; Joseph Melrose, former U.S. ambassador to Sierra Leone; Bob Royall, former U.S. ambassador to Tanzania; Gerald Scott, former U.S. ambassador to Gambia; Ron Godard, former U.S. ambassador to Guyana

3:30-4:45 p.m.   Lobby, Chapman Auditorium

Reception for the visiting ambassadors.  This will be an opportunity for students to meet the ambassadors in person.

5 p.m.               Chapman Auditorium

U.S. Ambassador to Canada (The Honorable David Wilkins) evening keynote address

6-7:30 p.m.   Chapman Auditorium

Ambassadorial Forum--a second forum, held by our visiting ambassadors.  The audience will have an opportunity to ask questions of our visitors.

Day 3
Oct. 26

10-11:45 a.m.   Lowrimore Auditorium

The U.N. and Human Relations Panel

Chair: Dr. Jerry Pubantz (professor of political science at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro)

Panelists: Dr. David P. Forsythe (professor of political science at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln; Dr. Kurt Mills (senior lecturer in International Human Rights at the University of Glasgow); Dr. Lawrence Le Blanc (professor and chair of the political science department at Marquette University)


1:30-3:15 p.m. Lowrimore Auditorium

The U.N. and Regional Organizations Panel

Chair: John Moore (professor emeritus of history at California State Polytechnic University –Pomona)

Panelists: Dr. Karen Mingst (professor of political science at the Patterson School of Diplomacy and International Commerce at the University of Kentucky); Dr. Margaret Karns (professor of political science at the University of Dayton); and Dr. Ioannis Stivachitis (assistant professor and international studies program director at Virginia Tech)


3:30-5:15 p.m.              Lowrimore Auditorium

Peacekeeping and Peacemaking Panel

Chair: Gary Ostrower (professor of history at Alfred University)

Panelists: Dr. Ahmed Ibrahim (professor and director of Middle East Studies at the Pratt Institute); Dr. Laura Zanotti (associate professor of political science at Virginia Tech); and Sean McFate (international security affairs consultant)

#38 / 9-21-07
Last Published: October 1, 2007 10:35 AM
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