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TITLE: James Baker: Foreign Policy and International Relations
SPEAKER: James Baker
EVENT DATE: 2007/02/27
RUNNING TIME: 52 minutes
Former U.S. Secretary of State James A. Baker III, who recently served as co-chair of the Iraq Study Group, delivered the fifth Kissinger Lecture on Foreign Policy and International Relations in a program sponsored by the John W. Kluge Center. An endowment was established in 1999 by friends and colleagues of former Secretary of State Kissinger to support an annual appointment to the Henry A. Kissinger Chair in Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress, in addition to an annual Kissinger lecture at the Library. The lecturer, an individual who has achieved distinction in the field of foreign affairs, is chosen by Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
Speaker Biography: James Baker is senior partner in the law firm of Baker Botts and honorary chairman of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University. In 2006, Baker and Lee H. Hamilton, former congressman and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, served as co-chairmen of the 10-member bipartisan Iraq Study Group, which was organized to independently assess the situation in Iraq and its effect on the surrounding regions as well as U.S. interests. Baker has served in senior government positions for three U.S. presidents. He was the 61st secretary of state from January 1989 through August 1992, under George H. W. Bush. During his tenure at the State Department, Baker traveled to 90 foreign countries as the United States confronted the unprecedented challenges and opportunities of the post-Cold War era. In 1995, Baker published "The Politics of Diplomacy," his reflections on those years of revolution, war and peace. Baker served as 67th secretary of the treasury from 1985 to 1988, under Ronald Reagan. As treasury secretary, he was also chairman of the President's Economic Policy Council. From 1981 to 1985, Baker served as White House chief of staff to Reagan. Baker's record of public service began in 1975 as under secretary of commerce to Gerald Ford. It concluded with his service as White House chief of staff and senior counselor to Bush from August 1992 to January 1993. Long active in American presidential politics, Baker led presidential campaigns for Ford, Reagan and Bush over the course of five consecutive presidential elections from 1976 to 1992. A native of Houston, Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952. After two years of active duty as a lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps, he entered the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. He received his J.D. with honors in 1957 and practiced law with the Houston firm of Andrews and Kurth from 1957 to 1975. Baker's memoir, "Work Hard, Study ??? and Keep Out of Politics!" was published in fall 2006.
SERIES: Kissinger Lecture