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February 21, 2013

Ambassador to discuss foreign policy challenges

NORMAN — Thomas Pickering, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and to six nations, will discuss current foreign policy challenges and how art helps Americans relate to the world at an event March 1 at the University of Oklahoma.

Most recently, Pickering was asked to co-chair an independent inquiry into the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. The speech will be featured as part of the President’s Associates dinner and will be followed by the opening of the U.S. State Department exhibition, “Advancing American Art,” at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum of Art.

“It is a great honor to have Ambassador Pickering speak at the opening of the historically important exhibition of paintings, which were once part of the State Department’s collection of art,” OU President David L. Boren said. “Pickering served as a diplomat for 40 years and is widely recognized as the senior statesman of the American Foreign Service.”

Pickering’s four decade-long career in the U.S. Foreign Service included ambassadorships to Russia, India, the United Nations, Israel, El Salvador, Nigeria and Jordan. Additionally, he served as Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs from 1997 to 2000. He has the rank of career ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.

President George H.W. Bush appointed Pickering as U.S. ambassador to the United Nations in 1989. Pickering played a critical role as ambassador during the first Gulf War when he helped lead the U.N. Security Council’s response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Following his retirement from the Foreign Service in 2001, Pickering served as senior vice president for international relations at Boeing until 2006. He also is affiliated with the International Crisis Group and oversees their international actions as a co-chair. In addition, he is chairman of the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress, the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and the American Academy of Diplomacy and a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Bureau of Asian Research and the Global Panel Foundation based in Berlin, Prague and Sydney.

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