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Former U.S. ambassador to give speech

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A former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, Jack Matlock, will be speaking on Troy’s campus Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. in the Rinehart Auditorium, Room 113 in the Math and Science Complex.

Sinclair Portis

Staff Writer

A former U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, Jack Matlock, will be speaking on Troy’s campus next week as Troy’s new ambassador-in-residence.

He is the highest-profile ambassador to speak at Troy, according to Michael Slobodchikoff, an assistant professor and department chair of political science. Matlock was the U.S. ambassador during key points in history including the Cuban Missile Crisis and the Cold War.

“Ambassador Matlock was the last U.S. Ambassador to the Soviet Union,” Slobodchikoff said. “He negotiated the Geneva agreements on nuclear missiles with the Soviets.

“He knew both Ronald Regan and (Mikhail) Gorbachev and was instrumental in helping to negotiate between the two countries as the Cold War was ending.”

According to faculty in the political science department, Matlock’s history can help enlighten students of modern events because the U.S. is in its worst relations with Russia since the Cold War.

“Whenever students have the opportunity to speak to someone with expertise, which he has, I think it’s a great chance to learn about U.S. international affairs,” said Steven Taylor, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Matlock was born in North Carolina and studied Russian as an undergraduate at Duke University. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, Matlock was on his first assignment in Moscow, helping translate between diplomatic leaders.

“I’m hoping that students see how important individuals can be to making history,” Slobodchikoff said. “How important ambassadors are to keeping the peace and to ensuring that even enemies can come to the same table and make agreements … that’s something that he can tell us firsthand.”

Faculty members said they are eager to hear Matlock’s take on current Russia relations with America and how they relate to his experiences.

“I think its important for Troy students to be around excellence and to see a public servant who has been involved with the most critical moments of the Cold War,” said Doug Davis, associate professor of political science and director of the Master of Science in International Relations program.

Slobodchikoff said he also believes that Matlock’s background will help students relate on their paths to success.

“He had to earn what he got, and so I hope that he does talk to students about his path to where he got to,” Slobodchikoff said.

Davis said the event will appeal to faculty as well.

“One of the things about being a faculty is you’re automatically intellectually curious,” Davis said. “Most of us are old enough to remember the Cold War and live through the collapse of the Soviet Union, and seeing someone who was a protagonist in this whole historical drama is extremely important.”

The event, free and open to students of all majors, will take place Wednesday, Sept. 13, at 3 p.m. in the Rinehart Auditorium, Room 113 in the Math and Science Complex.