Former U.S. ambassador to appear at Churchill Museum

Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas D. Boyatt has been stationed in various locations across the globe, and this week his designation as a Wilson Fellow takes him to Fulton.

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Former U.S. Ambassador Thomas D. Boyatt

The renowned foreign service officer’s resume includes negotiating for the release of hostages during the 1969 hijacking of TWA flight 840, serving as a U.S. ambassador to Upper Volta and Colombia, and working as the political counselor at the Embassy in Nicosia, Cyprus. Boyatt will be giving a free public lecture, “The Hundred Years War of the 20th Century” from 5:30-6:30 p.m. today at the National Churchill Museum.

Paola Protti Núñez, president of Westminster College’s Student Government Association, was instrumental in arranging for Boyatt’s visit. She said Boyatt’s lecture is about the politics of the 20th century, and the wars therein that changed the perspective of the world. This is the first year one of Westminster’s Woodrow Wilson Visting Fellows has agreed to hold a public event for the community as well as sessions on campus.

“It is a true honor for Westminster to be able to host a person with the Ambassador’s experience and world view,” Núñez said.

For more than five years, Westminster has been a part of the Wilson Fellow program, which is administered by the Council of Independent Colleges, where a distinguished professional visits the campus for a week-long program of classes, seminars, workshops, lectures and informal discussions.

Nikki Giesler, program director for student involvement at Westminster, said the Student Government Association selects its top three choices from a list provided by the Wilson Fellow program. The program then chooses one person from the selection to send to the college.

“It’s a great educational event we can bring on campus,” Giesler said.

This year’s choice is a professional that fits in well with Westminster’s mission of providing a “global vision” to students, she said.

“He’s had so much experience outside of the United States.”

Boyatt, who is currently the president and CEO of the Foreign Affairs Council, has served in U.S. foreign offices since 1959. He’s received numerous awards for his service including the Lifetime Contributions to American Diplomacy Award and the State Department’s Meritorious Honor Award. He received the Meritorious Honor Award for helping passengers to safety when Palestinian insurgents hijacked a plane bound for Israel in August of 1969. Boyatt was also a passenger aboard the flight.

“That exercise of leadership, conflict resolution and plain and implemental experience is very worthwhile for the Westminster and Fulton communities to learn from,” Núñez said of Boyatt’s foreign service.

“We are honored to have someone with such an incredible background in the foreign service on campus for a week to share thoughts and experiences with our students in a variety of educational and informal settings,” Dr. Barney Forsythe, president of Westminster, stated.

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