Shearer to Speak in Helsinki May 6
Derek Shearer, Occidental College Chevalier Professor of Diplomacy and World Affairs, will speak at the May 6 opening session of a symposium celebrating 90 years of U.S.-Finnish diplomatic relations at the University of Helsinki.
Shearer, who served as U.S. Ambassador to Finland from 1994 to 1997, will follow Finnish President Tarja Halonen to kick off the symposium sponsored by the Finnish Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki, the University of Helsinki, and the Fulbright Center.
Although he is appearing at the invitation of the U.S. State Department, Shearer is in a way returning a favor to President Halonen, who spoke at Occidental in 1996 while serving as Minister of Foreign Affairs. Halonen, elected president in 2000, is Finland’s first woman chief executive.
Shearer, America’s first post-Cold War ambassador to Finland, will deliver a talk entitled “Admirable Nation: The United States and Finland After the Cold War.” The two-day symposium celebrates formal recognition of the Finnish republic by the United States in 1919 after the former grand duchy won its independence from Russia.
Shearer’s trip to Helsinki is not the first by an Occidental faculty member. Lynn Dumenil, Cleland Professor of American History, was the Fulbright Bicentennial Chair in American Studies at the University of Helsinki in 2001-02.