A veteran diplomat who represented U.S. interests during some of the most heated international crises of the past generation will deliver the keynote address at Keuka College’s 111th Commencement May 18.
Ambassador Robert R. Gosende served for 36 years in Foreign Service with the U.S. Information Agency and the Department of State before joining the State University of New York in 1998. His diplomatic assignments included tours of duty as a Cultural Affairs Officer in Libya, Somalia, and Poland, and as Minister-Counselor for Public Affairs in South Africa and in the Russian Federation.
Ambassador Gosende served as President Clinton’s Special Envoy for Somalia at the height of the security and humanitarian crisis in that country from 1992-93. In 1994, he was Senior Advisor to the Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs, directing the U.S. government’s education and public affairs activities in support of the first multi-racial elections held in South Africa that year.
While stationed in Washington, D.C., Ambassador Gosende served as the Associate Director of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Information Agency, and as that Agency’s Deputy Director and Director for Sub-Saharan African Affairs.
Ambassador Gosende said he will focus, in his speech, on current political challenges and look to make the case for why we need greater understanding of our country’s role in the world.
“I am an optimist and I believe deeply that our system has built-in means for correction,” he said from his home in Guilderland.. “Our system will correct itself but it will take some time and, in the meantime, there may well have been some things done that most Americans do not agree with. If that is the case there will have to be ways found to correct the things that the majority of voters think need to be corrected.”