Ahead of Her Time: A Conversation with Ambassador Jean Wilkowski
Thursday, April 23
12pm – 1pm
260 Bascom Hall
Co-sponsored by the Division of International Studies, International Studies Major, the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies, and the African Studies Program.
After earning her master’s degree in journalism, Wilkowski went into a career with the U.S. Foreign Service, where she developed an expertise in commercial affairs and helped negotiate the expansion of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, which led to the creation of the World Trade Organization. From 1972–79, she served as the first woman ambassador to Zambia and helped change U.S. policy in southern Africa.
In later years, Wilkowski continued to serve the State Department through an assignment at the United Nations, helping to organize the U.S. policy position for a world conference on science and technology. Wilkowski has received six honorary degrees and published her autobiography, “Abroad for Her Country,” in April 2008.
“A serious and charming autobiography of a pioneer woman diplomat. Madeline and Condi would not have made it to Secretary of State without Ambassador Wilkowski’s courage and skill.” —Donna E. Shalala, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Resources (1993–2001) and currently President, University of Miami
“This is a wonderful memoir. I could not put it down. Ambassador Wilkowski writes with wit, candor, and great insight into the ways in which diplomacy is carried out, including the personal aspects of it which are so relevant but rarely disclosed. But most important of all, serving in Latin America, Africa, the UN, and Washington, she lived up to the injunction of one of her early mentors, to bring morality and ethics to government service. Her memoir demonstrates how these can be powerful forces for good, for the world and for America, when people of her strength and character stand up for them.” —Princeton N. Lyman, Council on Foreign Relations