Former Ambassador June Carter Perry spent 25 years as a career diplomat, work that earned her the President’s Meritorious Service Award for her contributions to U.S. foreign policy. She is now bringing the benefit of her experience and knowledge to Mount Holyoke students as this year's Cyrus Vance Visiting Professor of International Relations.
Perry, who served as U.S. envoy to Sierra Leone and Lesotho under Presidents Barack Obama and George W. Bush, is also bringing her former State Department colleagues to campus. In September, former State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns, now a professor at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government visited campus. On Monday, October 31, Perry will introduce former Ambassador Edward Perkins, who will speak at 7:30 pm in Gamble Auditorium on "The Future of American Diplomacy: Strategies to Meet Global Changes." Perkins--father of Katherine Perkins '88--is the former ambassador to South Africa, Australia, and the United Nations, as well as former director-general of the foreign service.
"Ambassador Perry is bringing in a number of former State Department officials over the course of the year to speak to her class and give a public address," said Professor Sohail Hashmi, chair of MHC's International Relations Program. "She is a perfect example of the rich opportunities our students have to study international relations with both academicians and practitioners."
In addition to the President's Meritorious Service Award, Perry received several State Department Superior and Meritorious Honor Awards for her achievements as cochair of Vice President Al Gore’s U.S.-South Africa Binational Commission, negotiator of the first U.S.-Southern African Community Memorandum of Understanding, and service as acting deputy assistant secretary during Libya’s challenges to the Human Rights Commission. Previously Diplomat in Residence at Howard University, she now serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) at the Foreign Service Institute and on the Board of Directors of AFRICARE, a major national NGO supporting education and health in Africa. She is also former vice president of the Women's Institute of Washington, D.C., and Bethesda, Maryland.
The Cyrus Vance Visiting Professorship in International Relations was established in 1987 to honor the 57th U.S. Secretary of State; Vance was the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree from Mount Holyoke in 1982. The professorship brings a prominent practitioner in international relations--someone whose teaching and lectures add a practical dimension to the curriculum--to the College for a semester or a full academic year.