The March 29 edition of the Washington Post carried the sad news of the passing of one of our country’s foremost cultural diplomats: Yale Richmond. Yale’s geographic area specialization was Russia and Central Europe. When he began working in the region, Russia was still the Soviet Union and the United States referred to anything west of the Soviet Union as Eastern Europe. This deeply offended the Poles, for example, who pointed out that Warsaw was to be found some 1000 miles west of Moscow just about mid-way between Moscow and Paris. The Poles would point out that they were central Europeans whose culture came from the west not from the influences of the barbarism found along their eastern border.
Ambassador Robert Gosende served 35 years as a Foreign Service Officer in the U.S. Information Agency and the Department of State. He was President Clinton’s Special Envoy for Somalia during the height of the security and humanitarian crisis in that country in 1992-93. In 1998 Ambassador Gosende was appointed Special Assistant to the Chancellor for International Programs at State University for New York (SUNY), and from 2001 to 2010 served as Associate Vice Chancellor for International Programs.