Richard Solomon, former U.S. Ambassador and president of the United States Institute of Peace, will be the keynote speaker at the 2012 Whittier College New Student Convocation on October 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the Ruth B. Shannon Center for the Performing Arts. As an expert on world peace, Solomon will share his insights into the world that college students will inherit and the role that they should play in engaging and leading positive change. His keynote lecture, "Be a Change Agent! Lead Us Into New Worlds," is part of a week-long visit to campus as a Center for Engagement with Communities Fellow. Solomon will receive an honorary doctorate of humane letters (L.H.D.) from the College during this Convocation.
In addition, during his stay at Whittier, he will be visit various classes and with students throughout the week. On Thursday, October 4, Solomon will give a special lecture, "The China Challenge," in AJ Villalobos Hall. For additional information call 562.907.5037.
Prior to his work with the U.S. Institute of Peace, Solomon was assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs from 1989 to 1992. He negotiated the Cambodia peace treaty, the first United Nations "Permanent Five" peacemaking agreement; had a leading role in the dialogue on nuclear issues between the United States and South and North Korea; helped establish the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation initiative; and led U.S. negotiations with Japan, Mongolia and Vietnam on important bilateral matters. In 1992-93, Solomon served as U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines.
Solomon previously served as director of policy planning at the Department of State and as a senior staff member of the National Security Council. In this latter position, he supported President Richard Nixon (Whittier College class of 1934) and Henry Kissinger in the 1972 breakthrough opening of relations with China.
In 1995, Solomon was awarded the State Department's Foreign Affairs Award for Public Service and he has received awards for policy initiatives from the governments of Korea and Thailand. In 2005, he received the American Political Science Association's Hubert H. Humphrey career award for notable public service by a political scientist."
Solomon began his career as professor of political science at the University of Michigan, and also served as head of the Political Science Department at the RAND Corporation.