An Evening with Three Ambassadors


Event Sponsored by the Global Studies and International Affairs graduate program

November 21 at 6pm

North­eastern Uni­ver­sity Pres­i­dent Joseph E. Aoun urged the Depart­ment of Defense on Sunday to reverse its deci­sion to halt the pro­cessing of Mil­i­tary Tuition Assis­tance pro­gram appli­ca­tions in light of the gov­ern­ment shutdown.

Upon learning of this sit­u­a­tion, North­eastern took imme­diate action to con­tact its more than 100 active duty men and women cur­rently enrolled as stu­dents and assured them that the uni­ver­sity would pro­vide what­ever finan­cial assis­tance was needed to pre­vent a dis­rup­tion in their education.

Aoun, speaking on behalf of those active duty men and women, wrote a letter to Defense Sec­re­tary Chuck Hagel in which he expressed dismay over reports the uni­ver­sity heard late Friday evening from ser­vice mem­bers that some mil­i­tary branches have advised stu­dents not to enroll in classes begin­ning after Oct. 1, or to with­draw from their cur­rent programs.

Our active duty mil­i­tary, Reserve, and National Guard mem­bers who put their lives on the line to pro­tect us deserve far better from their country than to be pre­vented from accessing the higher edu­ca­tion ben­e­fits they were promised,” Aoun wrote. “Surely DoD has existing capacity during the gov­ern­ment shut­down to review, process, and approve on a con­tin­gent basis pending TA appli­ca­tions that meet cur­rent pro­gram guide­lines. This seems all the more likely in light of recent action by Con­gress to pay civilian employees retroactively—a mea­sure Pres­i­dent Obama has pledged to sign into law.”

National ser­vice, Aoun noted, is deeply embedded in Northeastern’s values, pointing to its long­standing sup­port for the Army ROTC program—one of the oldest and largest in New England—and its strong ongoing research col­lab­o­ra­tions with the Defense Depart­ment and the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity, among other fed­eral agen­cies. “We believe higher edu­ca­tion has an oblig­a­tion to con­tribute to the secu­rity of our nation, and to sup­port the women and men of the armed forces who serve and pro­tect us,” Aoun wrote.

I respect­fully urge you to instruct the ser­vices to con­tinue pro­cessing TA appli­ca­tions imme­di­ately and to con­sider any alter­nate mech­a­nisms avail­able to you to ensure that no active duty per­sonnel will have their studies dis­rupted,” Aoun added.

Last Monday evening, Con­gress failed to reach an agree­ment on a budget for the 2014 fiscal year, trig­gering the first fed­eral gov­ern­ment shut­down since 1996. How­ever, North­eastern does not expect the shut­down to affect the rest of its stu­dents’ fed­eral finan­cial aid assis­tance. Pell Grants and funds from the Direct Loan pro­gram will be dis­bursed on schedule, and the majority of the U.S. Depart­ment of Education’s cus­tomer ser­vice con­tact cen­ters will remain open during the shutdown.

If the shut­down lasts longer than one week, the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will not make new dis­burse­ments of campus-​​​​based aid programs—including the Work-​​​​Study and Perkins Loan pro­grams as well as the Sup­ple­mental Edu­ca­tional Oppor­tu­nity Grant—but North­eastern will have the finan­cial flex­i­bility to manage the short­fall for the remainder of the fall semester at the least.

Aoun’s action con­tinues his national lead­er­ship in addressing issues crit­ical to higher edu­ca­tion. He recently com­pleted his one-​​year team as board chair of the Amer­ican Council on Edu­ca­tion, and he serves on an aca­d­emic advi­sory council reporting directly to the home­land secu­rity sec­re­tary that exam­ines how uni­ver­si­ties can con­tribute to America’s national secu­rity efforts. He has also coor­di­nated efforts with other col­lege pres­i­dents to sup­port crit­ical research funding in the Depart­ment of Home­land Secu­rity budget, to pre­serve fed­eral finan­cial aid funding for stu­dents, and to urge cau­tion on reg­u­la­tion of unpaid intern­ships at the fed­eral level.

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Diplomacy is an art that countries rely upon to strengthen relationships, build alliances, and promote their national agendas.

At this “Evening with Three Ambassadors” you will hear stories and learn about life working as an ambassador in North Korea, one of the most isolated countries in the world, in India, a top emerging economy, and in Norway, where the U.S. ambassador learned one month into his tenure that he would be hosting President Obama when he arrived to accept the 2009 Nobel Peace Prize.

Three former ambassadors – one American, one German, and one Kyrgyz -- will share their stories about what it was like to run an embassy and conduct diplomatic relations in places ranging from India to Sudan to China.  The event will be moderated by Mary Thompson-Jones, director and faculty member of the Global Studies and International Affairs program. All students and faculty are welcome and invited to pose questions in this unique encounter, sponsored by the College of Professional Studies’ program in Global Studies and International Affairs.

Additionally, two of these ambassadors will be teaching new Regional Studies courses this Winter quarter!

GST 6505: Regional Studies Southwest and Central Asia: Ambassador Beshimov (Thursdays)

GST 6501: Regional Studies: East Asia: Ambassador Loehr (Tuesdays)

Both classes are on campus and are now open for registration.


Thursday, November 21

6-7:30 p.m.


The College of Professional Studies

101 Belvidere Street, Boston, MA  02115

(101 Belvidere is located at the Christian Science Center Plaza, in the Colonnade Building, the low building which runs along the side of the reflecting pool – a 10 minute walk from campus.  Enter at the middle of the building, alongside the reflecting pool)


Ambassador White
                   Ambassador White

Ambassador Barry White served as United Stated Ambassador to Norway from 2009 – 2013. A month after his arrival, he hosted President Obama who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. He also went skydiving with the Norwegian Special Operations Forces at Rena Camp. On a sadder note, he lived through the day of July 22, 2011, when Anders Behring Breivik killed 77 people. Before his diplomatic career he practiced law for 40 years at Foley Hoag in Boston. For 13 of those years he was Chairman and Managing Partner (CEO), in the firm’s business, corporate, international, and government strategies practice areas. He has been deeply involved in Boston in community services, and served as Secretary, General Counsel, and Member of the Executive Committee of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, and as Director of the Massachusetts Alliance for International Business. He holds an AB from Harvard College, magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa; and a J.D. from Harvard Law School, magna cum laude, where he was editor of the Harvard Law Review.

Ambassador Loehr
    Ambassador Loehr


Ambassador Friedrich Loehr is a career officer in the German diplomatic service. He was Ambassador to North Korea from 2005-2007 and Deputy Chief of Mission in Beijing, China form 2002-2005. He has held a number of distinguished German Foreign Office posts, including Minister-Counselor of the Department of Arms Control and Disarmament; Adviser to the Policy Planning Group of the CDU/CSU party at the Bundestag; and Deputy Director of European Political Affairs in the Chancellor’s office. He has served overseas in German embassies in Algeria, Sudan, Czech Republic, Hungary, and Serbia. He also represented Germany in international organizations including the United Nations and the European Union. His finished his diplomatic career as German Consul General to the New England States. He has taught at the University of Rhode Island, Suffolk University, and is currently on the faculty at Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies. He holds a law degree from the University of Heidelberg and was a Rhodes Scholar, earning an M.Phil. in international relations from Oxford University, England, and is a former fellow of the Weatherhead Center for International Affairs at Harvard. 

Ambassador Beshimov
 Ambassador Beshimov


 Ambassador Baktybek Beshimov has a unique understanding of the politics of Southwest Asia. From 1998-2000, and again from 2007-2010, he was a member of Parliament in his native Kyrgyzstan, where he led the Social Democrats, the only opposition party. From 2000-2005 he served as Kyrgyz Ambassador to India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Nepal. He also has considerable experience in academia. From 1992-1998 he was President of Osh University, and from 2005-2007 he was Vice President and Provost for the American University of Central Asia. Ambassador Beshimov holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, with honors, from Kyrgyz State University, and has a Ph.D. in history from Kyrgyz State University. He is a visiting researcher at MIT’s Center for International Studies; a Visiting Scholar at Harvard University’s Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies; and on the faculty at Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies.


Mary Thompson-Jones
    Mary Thompson-Jones



Dr. Mary Thompson-Jones, Moderator

Dr. Thompson-Jones was a career member of the U.S. Foreign Service, where she served as Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Prague, Czech Republic, a position for which she received a Superior Honor Award. As a Public Diplomacy Officer, she also served in Quebec, Guatemala, Sarajevo, Madrid, and Washington, D.C. After completing a tour as the State Department’s Diplomat in Residence for New England, she joined Northeastern University’s College of Professional Studies as Faculty Director of the Master’s Program in Global Studies and International Affairs. She has degrees in journalism and political science from California State University, a MALD from Tuft’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and an Ed.D. from the University of Pennsylvania.