On February 2, 2010, the first of a series of lectures organized by Amb. Louise Oliver on multilateral diplomacy will take place at IWP.  Amb. Oliver will speak on the topic of: “Comeback at UNESCO: From Defeat to Success.”

In 1984, the United States officially left the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as a result of many objectionable actions taken by that 193-member organization. UNESCO is responsible for a variety of activities in the international arena including: literacy and technical projects, and teacher-training programs; non-violence education programs, international science programs; the promotion of and freedom of the press; regional and cultural history projects, the promotion of cultural diversity; international cooperation agreements to secure World Heritage Sites and to preserve human rights; intercultural dialogue; museums; and attempts to bridge the worldwide digital divide.  Behind the guise of work on education, science, and culture, its activities have had considerable global and regional political implications. Because the U.S. does not enjoy a veto at UNESCO as it does at the UN Security Council, defending U.S. interests depends on acute skill in the art of multilateral diplomacy — an art of statecraft that is rarely systematically studied, yet mastery of which is vital to U.S. foreign policy.

Ambassador Oliver served as the first U.S. Permanent Representative to UNESCO in 20 years, re-establishing the U.S. diplomatic presence and leadership after the long hiatus. She served from 2004 to 2009, a period that was extended beyond the usual tour of duty because of her unusual effectiveness in this most sensitive position. Her role in negotiating international treaties while stoutly defending U.S. and allied interests provides important lessons on an instrument of statecraft that must be on the radar screen of all who aspire to expertise in integrated strategy.

IWP students, faculty, and friends are invited to enjoy the lecture at 4:30 PM, which will be followed by an opportunity to ask questions and a reception.  Please RSVP to kbridges@iwp.edu.