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Ambassador James Foley, '79 grad, to speak at Brown Bag
Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Ambassador James Foley, '79

The Arts and Sciences Brown Bag Series concludes on May 1 with a presentation by Ambassador James Foley (B.A., ’79). In his address, “Can an Exceptional Nation Have a Normal Foreign Policy?” he will offer the perspective of nearly 30 years in the foreign service regarding the immense changes in the international landscape that have occurred in that period, and the likely challenges confronting America in the years to come.

The presentation will take place between noon and 1:30 p.m. in the Williams Center Room S204.

Foley served as the U.S. ambassador to Haiti from 2003 to 2005 and Croatia from 2009 to 2012. From 2007-2009, he was the U.S. State Department's senior coordinator for Iraqi refugee issues, working to alleviate the plight of several million Iraqis displaced by the war. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in English from SUNY Fredonia in 1979.

Foley’s presentation will focus on American exceptionalism – the core belief that among the nations the United States has a unique role, mission and destiny – that he says has profoundly shaped America's foreign policy from the beginning of the republic to the present day. It animated both the country's long period of isolation and the more recent period of global leadership since World War II. Now the U.S. confronts the need to redefine its role and perhaps its purpose in a new era of rising powers, multiplying threats and declining resources at home. His presentation will raise the following questions: What are the consequences, as well as the lessons, of the strategic mistakes committed in the wake of 9/11? What kind of U.S. foreign policy is needed in a radically transforming world? Can we afford the foreign policy we need? Can America's sense of exceptionalism accommodate changes to the U.S. global role and posture, or will it revive long-dormant tendencies towards isolation and retreat from the world?

The presentation will be followed by a discussion and refreshments. Students are invited to remain for Brown Bag Desserts, an informal conversation over dessert. The talk is free and open to all campus and community members. Classes are welcome.

This year’s Brown Bag series is directed by Dr. Teodora Cox, mathematical sciences; Dr. Jack Croxton, psychology; Dr. Natalie Gerber, English; Dr. Laura Johnson, communication; and, Dr. Theodore Lee, biology.

For more information, visit the series’ website at

The Arts and Sciences Brown Bag Lecture Series is sponsored by the Fredonia College Foundation’s Carnahan-Jackson Humanities Fund; Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences John Kijinski; and, the Faculty Student Association.

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