BOSTON (June 15, 2007) — Simmons College has named Thomas Hull, the U.S. ambassador to Sierra Leone in West Africa, the college's new Warburg Chair of International Relations.
The Warburg Chair was created in the early 1980s by Simmons alumna Joan Melber Warburg (class of '45) to educate people about international affairs, and usually carries a two-year term. Hull replaces the previous Warburg Chair, Walter Carrington, a former ambassador to Nigeria and Senegal, who focused on humanitarian crises in Africa and Africa's role in the war on terrorism during his term.
Appointed ambassador to Sierra Leone in 2004, Hull had recently lectured at Simmons on the trade in illicit "blood diamonds" in West Africa. During his career, he has been on the diplomatic front line of many global issues, including peace building, human rights, food security, trade development, human trafficking, blood diamond reform, counterterrorism, and war crimes prosecution.
Before becoming ambassador, Hull served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the American Embassy in Ethiopia, and had earlier diplomatic assignments in South Africa, Nigeria, Somalia, Burkina Faso, and Congo. He also was director of African affairs at the United States Information Agency in Washington (USIA), prior to its merger with the Department of State, where he created and directed the American public diplomacy strategy for Sub-Saharan Africa.
Hull also served as counselor for public affairs in Prague, and received a Presidential Meritorious Service Award for his contributions to the transformation of communist Czechoslovakia into the democratic Czech Republic and Slovakia. He also served as a deputy in the USIA during a critical period in the Cold War, where his role in developing foreign policy initiatives with the White House, National Security Council, and other government agencies was recognized with a Meritorious Honor Award.
Hull founded the Fulbright Commissions for Educational Exchange and served as board chairman in the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and South Africa. He also worked at the Institute of International Education in New York, where he managed Fulbright student exchanges and helped develop new programs.
Simmons College is a nationally recognized private university in the heart of Boston with about 5,000 students. It includes an undergraduate college for women, and graduate programs for women and men in social work, health studies, library and information science, management, and liberal arts.
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