Ambassador plans WSU visit, lecture

Thomas S. Foley, former United States ambassador to Japan and former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, will visit Washington State University at the Pullman campus on Tuesday, March 11. Foley will talk with students, get a briefing on the public policy institute that bears his name, meet with administrators of the university and give a public lecture.

“Thomas S. Foley brings to this campus a lifetime of public service and a unique understanding of American government and international affairs,” said Ed Weber, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service.

“During his time in the U.S. House, Foley helped write key legislation that promoted international trade, national security, environmental protection, and agricultural operations. These are all issues of critical interest to the nation, the Pacific Northwest and Eastern Washington.

“As ambassador to Japan during the 1990s, he improved U.S.-Japanese relations during a time of considerable trade tension,” declared Weber.

“One of the things he is especially looking forward to is teaching a class. He’s told me repeatedly that he wants to sit down with students and hear what they have to say,” Weber added.

Foley’s opportunity to teach is included on the agenda for this trip. He will meet and visit with students from Thomas Preston’s U.S. Foreign Relations class and with students in the university’s Honors College. Tuesday night, Foley will present his perspective on American politics in a public lecture at 7 p.m. in the Compton Union Building ballroom.

Foley served for 30 years, from 1965 to 1994, in the U.S. House of Representatives from Washington’s Fifth Congressional District, which includes the Palouse, Walla Walla and Spokane. He was the 49th speaker of the House, and, in 1997, became the 25th U.S. ambassador to Japan.

Foley is currently a public-law-and-policy attorney with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP in Washington, D.C.

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