An Evening with Three Ambassadors
Event Sponsored by the Global Studies and International Affairs graduate program
November 21 at 6pm
Northeastern University President Joseph E. Aoun urged the Department of Defense on Sunday to reverse its decision to halt the processing of Military Tuition Assistance program applications in light of the government shutdown.
Upon learning of this situation, Northeastern took immediate action to contact its more than 100 active duty men and women currently enrolled as students and assured them that the university would provide whatever financial assistance was needed to prevent a disruption in their education.
Aoun, speaking on behalf of those active duty men and women, wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in which he expressed dismay over reports the university heard late Friday evening from service members that some military branches have advised students not to enroll in classes beginning after Oct. 1, or to withdraw from their current programs.
“Our active duty military, Reserve, and National Guard members who put their lives on the line to protect us deserve far better from their country than to be prevented from accessing the higher education benefits they were promised,” Aoun wrote. “Surely DoD has existing capacity during the government shutdown to review, process, and approve on a contingent basis pending TA applications that meet current program guidelines. This seems all the more likely in light of recent action by Congress to pay civilian employees retroactively—a measure President Obama has pledged to sign into law.”
National service, Aoun noted, is deeply embedded in Northeastern’s values, pointing to its longstanding support for the Army ROTC program—one of the oldest and largest in New England—and its strong ongoing research collaborations with the Defense Department and the Department of Homeland Security, among other federal agencies. “We believe higher education has an obligation to contribute to the security of our nation, and to support the women and men of the armed forces who serve and protect us,” Aoun wrote.
“I respectfully urge you to instruct the services to continue processing TA applications immediately and to consider any alternate mechanisms available to you to ensure that no active duty personnel will have their studies disrupted,” Aoun added.
Last Monday evening, Congress failed to reach an agreement on a budget for the 2014 fiscal year, triggering the first federal government shutdown since 1996. However, Northeastern does not expect the shutdown to affect the rest of its students’ federal financial aid assistance. Pell Grants and funds from the Direct Loan program will be disbursed on schedule, and the majority of the U.S. Department of Education’s customer service contact centers will remain open during the shutdown.
If the shutdown lasts longer than one week, the federal government will not make new disbursements of campus-based aid programs—including the Work-Study and Perkins Loan programs as well as the Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant—but Northeastern will have the financial flexibility to manage the shortfall for the remainder of the fall semester at the least.
Aoun’s action continues his national leadership in addressing issues critical to higher education. He recently completed his one-year team as board chair of the American Council on Education, and he serves on an academic advisory council reporting directly to the homeland security secretary that examines how universities can contribute to America’s national security efforts. He has also coordinated efforts with other college presidents to support critical research funding in the Department of Homeland Security budget, to preserve federal financial aid funding for students, and to urge caution on regulation of unpaid internships at the federal level.- See more at: http://www.northeastern.edu/news/2013/10/military-tuition-assistance/#sthash.OwlJcoPe.dpuf
Diplomacy is an art that countries rely upon to strengthen relationships, build alliances, and promote their national agendas.
At this “Evening with Three Ambassadors” you will hear stories and learn about life working as an ambassador in North Korea, one of the most isolated countries in the world, in India, a top emerging economy, and in Norway, where the U.S. ambassador learned one month into his tenure that he would be hosting President Obama when he arrived to accept the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.
Three former ambassadors – one American, one German, and one Kyrgyz -- will share their stories about what it was like to run an embassy and conduct diplomatic relations in places ranging from India to Sudan to China. The event will be moderated by Mary Thompson-Jones, director and faculty member of the Global Studies and International Affairs program. All students and faculty are welcome and invited to pose questions in this unique encounter, sponsored by the College of Professional Studies’ program in Global Studies and International Affairs.
Additionally, two of these ambassadors will be teaching new Regional Studies courses this Winter quarter!
GST 6505: Regional Studies Southwest and Central Asia: Ambassador Beshimov (Thursdays)
GST 6501: Regional Studies: East Asia: Ambassador Loehr (Tuesdays)
Both classes are on campus and are now open for registration.
Thursday, November 21
The College of Professional Studies
101 Belvidere Street, Boston, MA 02115
(101 Belvidere is located at the Christian Science Center Plaza, in the Colonnade Building, the low building which runs along the side of the reflecting pool – a 10 minute walk from campus. Enter at the middle of the building, alongside the reflecting pool)
Ambassador Barry White served as United Stated Ambassador to Norway from 2009 – 2013. A month after his arrival, he hosted President Obama who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He also went skydiving with the Norwegian Special Operations Forces at Rena Camp. On a sadder note, he lived through the day of July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people. Before his diplomatic career he practiced law for 40 years at Foley Hoag in Boston. For 13 of those years he was Chairman and Managing Partner (CEO), in the firm’s business, corporate, international, and government strategies practice areas. He has been deeply involved in Boston in community services, and served as Secretary, General Counsel, and Member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and as Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for International Business. He holds an AB from Harvard College, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review.
Ambassador Friedrich Loehr is a career officer in the German diplomatic service. He was Ambassador to North Korea from 2005-2007 and Deputy Chief of Mission in Beijing, China form 2002-2005. He has held a number of distinguished German Foreign Office posts, including Minister-Counselor of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament; Adviser to the Policy Planning Group of the CDU/CSU party at the Bundestag; and Deputy Director of European Political Affairs in the Chancellor’s office. He has served overseas in German embassies in Algeria, Sudan, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Serbia. He also represented Germany in international organizations including the United Nations and the European Union. His finished his diplomatic career as German Consul General to the New England States. He has taught at the University of Rhode Island, Suffolk University, and is currently on the faculty at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. He holds a law degree from the University of Heidelberg and was a Rhodes Scholar, earning an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University, England, and is a former fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard.
Ambassador Baktybek Beshimov has a unique understanding of the politics of Southwest Asia. From 1998-2000, and again from 2007-2010, he was a member of Parliament in his native Kyrgyzstan, where he led the Social Democrats, the only opposition party. From 2000-2005 he served as Kyrgyz Ambassador to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. He also has considerable experience in academia. From 1992-1998 he was President of Osh University, and from 2005-2007 he was Vice President and Provost for the American University of Central Asia. Ambassador Beshimov holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with honors, from Kyrgyz State University, and has a Ph.D. in history from Kyrgyz State University. He is a visiting researcher at MIT’s Center for International Studies; a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies; and on the faculty at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies.
Dr. Mary Thompson-Jones, Moderator
Dr. Thompson-Jones was a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, where she served as Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, a position for which she received a Superior Honor Award. As a Public Diplomacy Officer, she also served in Quebec, Guatemala, Sarajevo, Madrid, and Washington, D.C. After completing a tour as the State Department’s Diplomat in Residence for New England, she joined Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies as Faculty Director of the Master’s Program in Global Studies and International Affairs. She has degrees in journalism and political science from California State University, a MALD from Tuft’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.