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By Kyle Vandenberg

On February 11, 2014, two remarkable things happened: a bomb threat in which Tressider Student Union and surrounding areas were shut down due to a suspicious backpack in a trashcan, and another extraordinary SIG policy lunch. SIG was honored to host former Ambassador Stephen Bosworth for a discussion on his career in diplomacy.  The group was eager to engage in a lively conversation about the foreign service, East Asian diplomacy, and students’ career interests.

Ambassador Bosworth currently serves as the Payne distinguished lecturer for the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center within the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Previously he has been the U.S. ambassador to the Republic of Korea (1997-2000), the Philippines (1984-1987), and Tunisia (1979-1981). In 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton named him special representative for U.S. policy on North Korea.

Students at the SIG lunch benefited from hearing about Ambassador Bosworth’s perspective on the nuclear negotiations stalemate with North Korea. The conversation also included analysis of recent diplomatic tensions between China and the Philippines and the rapid modernization of South Korea since the 1950s.

Drawing on his time as dean of The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University, Ambassador Bosworth advised students of the value in practical work experience abroad.  At the same time, Bosworth emphasized how important it is for all students, regardless of interest in the foreign service, to be aware of international politics. In the end, Bosworth expressed how fortunate he feels to be at Stanford (despite random suspicious backpacks), with its unrivaled good weather, talented people, and change-embracing attitude.

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