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James A. Baker, III, who served in senior government positions under three United States presidents, will offer his perspectives on world events and today's politics during a dialogue with retired Sen. Alan K. Simpson Tuesday, April 22, at 2 p.m. in the University of Wyoming College of Arts and Sciences auditorium.
The free event is sponsored by the Department of Political Science Simpson Speaker Series. Baker joins a lengthy list of prominent national political figures who have participated in the series that promotes political science education at UW.
He served as secretary of state from January 1989-August 1992 under President George Herbert Walker Bush. During that time he traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post-Cold War era. Baker's reflections on those years of revolution, war, and peace -- "The Politics of Diplomacy" -- was published in 1995.
Before that, he was secretary of the treasury (1985-1988) under President Ronald Reagan, and was also chairman of the President's Economic Policy Council. From 1981-1985, he served as White House chief of staff to President Reagan.
Baker's record of public service began in 1975 as under secretary of commerce to President Gerald Ford. It concluded with his service as White House chief of staff and senior counselor to President Bush from August 1992-January 1993.
Long active in American presidential politics, Baker led presidential campaigns for presidents Ford, Reagan, and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976-1992. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1991 and has received many other awards for distinguished public service.
Now a senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts, he is honorary chairman of the James A. Baker, III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University and serves on the board of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. From 1997-2004, Baker served as the personal envoy of United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan to seek a political solution to the conflict over Western Sahara.
Simpson served with Baker as a member of the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan blue-ribbon panel that conducted an independent assessment of the situation on the ground in Iraq, its impact on the surrounding region, and consequences for U.S. interests. A final report, released in December 2006, is available at www.usip.org/isg/iraq_study_group_report/report/1206.
Membership on the Iraq Study Group added to Simpson's distinguished career of public service. From 1979-1997 he was a U.S. senator from Wyoming, serving as assistant Republican leader and chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs. Prior to his service in national office, Simpson served in the Wyoming State House of Representatives.
Simpson received his undergraduate degree from UW in 1954 and his law degree from UW's College of Law in 1958.