Wittenberg University is excited to welcome Robert Perry, class of 1967, a public servant of 34 years, who has served as a U.S. Ambassador and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, to present a political science colloquium titled “U.S.-African Engagement 2000-2018” from 4:40-5:45 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 23.
The event, co-sponsored by the department of political science, the Faculty Endowment Fund Board, international studies, African and diaspora studies, and the William A. McClain Center for Diversity, will take place in Bayley Auditorium of the Barbara Deer Kuss Science Center.
Perry, born in Durham, North Carolina, graduated from Wittenberg with a bachelor’s degree in political science followed by a master’s degree in international affairs from American University in 1968. Upon graduation, he joined the U.S. Foreign Service and served in many diplomatic posts around the world, including as U.S. Ambassador to the Central African Republic from 1999-2001 and Deputy Assistant Secretary of State in the Bureau of African Affairs from 2001-02.
“Perry was able to rise to such a level of public service through the most turbulent and traumatized times when the nation was torn by the prolonged Vietnam War, anti-war, and civil rights movements,” said Bin Yu, Wittenberg political science and East Asian Studies professor. “He was at the center of many historical events of both the Cold War and post-Cold War world, and while in Latin America, he managed a $100 million counternarcotic program.”
From 1986 to 1989, Perry served as the Deputy Chief of Mission in Mauritius. From 1995 to 1998, he was the Deputy Chief of Mission in Bolivia and from 1998 to 2001 he was the U.S. Ambassador to the Central African Republic. He also served at U.S. embassies in Mexico, Ethiopia, and Chile during his career.
After retiring from foreign service 15 years ago, he has continued to stay in engaged in the world, serving as vice president in 2003-05 and 2008-16 for the Corporate Council on Africa to promote trade and investment between the U.S. and Africa, and as director of the African team for the Stevenson Group until 2017. He is member of the Council of Foreign Relations, the American Foreign Service Association, and the Association of Black American Ambassadors. In May 2018, Perry (pictured on the right above) received the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from Wittenberg during its Commencement exercises.