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Former U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Platt To Speak at Bard College on April 24

Jennifer Wai-Lan Huang
Ambassador Nicholas Platt to speak at Bard College on April 24.
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Presented by Bard College, Nicholas Platt—longtime China specialist, three-time U.S. ambassador (Pakistan, Zambia, and the Philippines), and author of the published memoir China Boys—will share his experiences and insights gained from a long and distinguished career in the diplomatic service and as president of the Asia Society in New York. Platt’s talk, titled “China Then and Now,” will be held in Weis Cinema of the Bertelsmann Campus Center at Bard College on Wednesday, April 24, at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

As a young diplomatic officer in the early 1960s, when Communist China was firmly closed to the west, Platt took the unusual step of studying Mandarin. This put him in a key position when U.S. relations to China suddenly opened. Platt was one of the State Department officials chosen to accompany President Nixon on his historic visit to China in 1973. The following year he and his family were stationed in Beijing with the opening of a U.S. Liaison Office, the forerunner of the U.S. Embassy in the People’s Republic of China (PRC).

Showing some of his home-movie footage of the Nixon trip and films of family and diplomatic events, and reading from his memoir, Platt will talk about life in China in 1973. As a former president of the Asia Society, which oversees numerous contacts and exchanges with China, and a frequent visitor and lecturer in the PRC, Platt is in a unique position to compare those early days of diplomatic contact to relations with the West today, as China now emerges as a major player on the world stage and an economic powerhouse. After his lecture, Platt will conduct an interactive discussion with the audience on current conditions in China and the state of our relationship today.

This lecture is cosponsored by the Office of Development and Alumni/ae Affairs and the History Program.

About Ambassador Nicholas Platt
After a 34-year foreign service career, Nicholas Platt served for 12 years at the helm of the Asia Society before becoming President Emeritus on July 1, 2004. Trained in Chinese (Mandarin) at the State Department Language School (1962–63), he began his career in Asia as a China analyst at the U.S. Consulate General in Hong Kong from 1964 to 1968. In 1972 he accompanied President Nixon on the historic trip to Beijing that signaled the resumption of relations between the United States and China. He was one of the first members of the U.S. Liaison Office in Beijing when the United States established a mission there in 1973. He served in Canada and Japan, and as U.S. Ambassador to Zambia (1982–84), the Philippines (1987–91) and Pakistan (1991–92). Educated at Harvard College and Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, he is a member of the New York Council on Foreign Relations, a board member of the Friends of China Heritage Fund Limited, and chair of the US-China Education Trust Advisory Board.  Ambassador Platt and his wife, Sheila, have three grown sons: Adam, a writer; Oliver, an actor; and Nicholas Jr., an investment banker; and eight grandchildren. His memoir China Boys was published in March 2010.

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CAPTION INFO: U.S. Ambassador Nicholas Platt to speak at Bard College on April 24.

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This event was last updated on 04-15-2013