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McNamara to describe his `Vision of Global Security in the 21st Century'
PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Robert McNamara, former secretary of defense and author of the controversial book In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam, will deliver a Stephen A. Ogden Jr. Memorial Lecture at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 15, at Brown University in the Salomon Center for Teaching. His speech, "A Vision of Global Security in the 21st Century," will be free and open to the public.
Editors: McNamara will be available for interviews. Please contact the News Bureau.
In early November 1995, McNamara led a group of foreign policy experts from Brown and other institutions on a mission to Hanoi to explore with the Vietnamese the possibility of a collaborative conference on the Vietnam War. The goal of such a conference, McNamara said, would be to discover whether there were missed opportunities that would have allowed the two sides to prevent or find an early end to the war and to extract from the historical record any lessons that might help prevent such disastrous conflicts in the future.
The November mission was very well received by the Vietnamese leadership, and plans are now being made for a conference in Hanoi late this year or early in 1997 under the sponsorship of the Center for Foreign Policy Development in Brown's Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies. McNamara is passionate about issues of global peace and security, according to James G. Blight, with whom McNamara worked on an earlier project involving the Cuba Missile Crisis.
Born in San Francisco in 1916, McNamara graduated from the University of California in 1937 where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at the end of his sophomore year. In 1939 he received an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration. In 1940 he returned to Harvard to serve as an instructor and later as an assistant professor. In 1943 he was commissioned as captain in the Air Force and served in the United Kingdom, India, China and the Pacific. He was awarded the Legion of Merit and was promoted to lieutenant colonel before going on inactive duty in April of 1946.
Upon his discharge from the Air Force, McNamara joined the Ford Motor Company and was elected director of the company in 1957. Three years later, he was elected Ford's president. At the request of President-elect John F. Kennedy, McNamara agreed to serve as secretary of defense and took the oath of office Jan. 21, 1961. He served until March 1968 when, during the administration of President Lyndon B. Johnson, he left politics to become president of the World Bank Group in April 1968. He retired from that position June 30, 1981.
Since his retirement, McNamara has served on the boards of Royal Dutch Petroleum, the Bank of America, and The Washington Post Company, among others. He was a member of the National Advisory Committee of Goldman Sachs. He is associated with a number of nonprofit associations, including The Brookings Institution, the World Resources Institute, the Trilateral Commission, the Overseas Development Council, the Aspen Institute, the Global Coalition for Africa, the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the U.S.-Japan Foundation, the National Committee for U.S.-China Relations and the International Irrigation Management Institute.
McNamara is the author of several books, including The Essence of Security; One Hundred Counties, Two Billion People; The McNamara Years at The World Bank; Blundering Into Disaster; Out of the Cold; and most recently, In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam.
McNamara has received the Presidential Medal of Freedom with distinction, the Albert Einstein Peace Prize, the Franklin D. Roosevelt Freedom from Want Medal, the American Assembly's Service to Democracy Award, the Dag Hammarskjold Honorary Medal, the Medal for Entrepreneurial Excellence from the Yale School of Organization and Management, the 1987 Olive Branch Award for the Outstanding Book on the Subject of World Peace, and the Onassis Foundation's Athinai Prize for Man and Mankind. He has also received honorary degrees from colleges and universities in the United States and abroad.
Since 1965, the Ogden Lectureship has presented the Brown and Southeastern New England communities with authoritative and timely addresses about international affairs. Created by his family in memory of Stephen A. Ogden Jr., a member of the Brown class of 1960 who died in 1963 of injuries sustained in an automobile accident during his junior year, the lectureship seeks to achieve what Ogden had hoped to accomplish through a career in international relations: the advancement of international peace and understanding.
Over the years, many heads of state, distinguished diplomats and other observers of the international scene have come to Providence as Ogden Lecturers. Presenters have included King Hussein of Jordan, Mario Soares of Portugal, Eduard Shevardnadze, foreign minister of the former Soviet Union, and Shimon Peres of Israel, who spoke during Brown's Commencement Weekend last May.