Since Occidental was founded by Princeton missionaries who wanted to bring the knowledge of the West—the Occident—to the East, the college has been globally oriented.

Generations of Oxy graduates, Oxy professors, and Oxy parents have been active on the international stage as diplomats, journalists, entrepreneurs, athletes, troublemakers, and government officials including an American President. In the fall of 2022, students on a DWA task force researched and chronicled Oxy's involvement with the world. Here is some of what they found.


Ural Alexis Johnson '31 (10/17/1908 - 3/24/1997) was a career foreign service officer who served as the U.S. ambassador to former Czechoslovakia 1953 to 1957, to Thailand 1958 to 1961. He returned to the U.S. to serve as the deputy Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs between 1961 and 1966. Mr. Johnson became an ambassador again, this time to Japan, from 1966 to 1969. He ended his State Department career as the deputy Under Secretary of State from 1969 to 1973, under President Nixon.

In 1923, Mr. Johnson's family moved to Glendale. He attended high school in the area, and participated in student newspaper, debate and yearbook in high school. Mr. Johnson graduated from Occidental in 1931 with an economics degree. He then attended Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service from 1931 to 1932, and joined the State Department in 1935, at the age of 27. Later, in 1954, he received a honorary doctorate from Occidental.

Mr. Johnson started off his foreign service career in 1935 as a language officer to Tokyo, for his fluency in Japanese. During his Asian post, he has also worked in Korea and China. His Asian connections continued when he became ambassador to former Czechoslovakia in the 1950s – he would hold talks with Chinese counterparts in Geneva, before the two countries established diplomatic relationships in 1979.

Sources and Additional Readings

Born in 1909 in Japan and brought to the US as a toddler, former Consul-General Henry Toshiro Shimanouchi spent most of his adolescence in various locales across California. He graduated from Occidental in 1931, where he participated in debate. After returning to Japan two years after graduating, Shimanouchi would get his start in the newsroom, where he worked for English-language and other Western-language newspapers. He got his start in the international sphere once he began serving with the Japanese Cultural Promotion Office in New York during the early 1940s. After WWII, Shimanouchi served as a translator in the International Military Tribunal for the Far East, as well as in the 1951 Japanese peace talks.

After his time as a translator/interpreter, Shimanouchi became Counselor of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was assigned to the Washington, D.C. Japanese Embassy from 1954- 1961. During his embassy tenure, he served multiple roles, such as First Secretary and interpreter. Following that, he was made Japanese Consul-General at the consulate in Los Angeles during the 1960s. While he was Consul-General, Shimanouchi maintained an involvement in the Japanese-American community of Los Angeles, as evidenced by his participation in events such as ground-breaking ceremonies in Little Tokyo and sparking the creation of an umbrella organization for various prefectural associations. After his time as the Consul-General, Shimanouchi served as the Japanese ambassador to Norway. He passed away in the 2000s after a decades-long career in the foreign affairs world, leaving behind a legacy that still remains of interest to this day.…, p.268

Raymond Ewing was named Ambassador of the United States to Cyprus in 1981 and to Ghana in 1989. Born in Cleveland, Ohio, but raised in California, Ambassador Ewing attended Occidental College, graduating in 1957 as the senior class president with a major in History. The same year of graduation, Ambassador Ewing began his career in the foreign service. In 1970, the Ambassador received his Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard University.

Originally beginning his career as a staff assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for Economic Affairs, Ambassador Ewing held a multitude of positions within the foreign service before being named an Ambassador. Ambassador Ewing worked as the special assistant to the Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs, and then as both the Deputy Director and the Director of the Office of Southern European Affairs throughout the late 1970’s. He served as the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States to Cyprus from 1981 to 1984, and then to Ghana from 1989 to 1992. During his career in the foreign service, Ambassador Ewing has also worked for the Foreign Service Institute as Dean of the School of Language Studies and as a Director within the Bureau of Personnel. Ambassador Ewing has since retired and resides in Virginia.

Links for more information:……,%20Raymond%20C.toc.pdf

David Laurence Aaron served as the Under Secretary of Commerce for the International Trade Administration (ITA) from Oct. 1997 to Apr. 2000. Previously, he was the U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Economics Co-operation and Development (OECD) between Aug. 1993 and Nov. 1997. Mr. Aaron also served as the U.S. deputy National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter between Jan. 1977 to Jan. 1981, under the recommendation of the then-NSA Zbigniew Brzezinski. After his under-secretary position in ITA, Mr. Aaron joined law firm Dorsey & Whitney LLP as a senior international advisor from 2002-2003. He joined the global policy think tank RAND Corporation as a senior fellow in 2003.

Mr. Aaron was born in 1938 in Chicago, IL. He attended Occidental with a scholarship and graduated in 1960 majoring in languages, specializing in Spanish and French. He went on to receive a Master in Public Affairs (MPA) degree from Princeton University in 1962. He entered into U.S. foreign service in 1962. Mr. Aaron later received an honorary doctorate from Occidental in June 1987.

As the ITA Under Secretary, Mr. Aaron was responsible for developing U.S. trade policy, resolving market access and compliance issues, as well as promoting American competitiveness and U.S. companies in global markets. During his time in the U.S. foreign service, Mr. Aaron was in the U.S. delegation for the first Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT I) with the Soviet Union. In his position as the deputy NSA, Mr. Aaron was primarily responsible for arms control and consultation with Europe.

Sources and Additional Readings

Aggrey Mxolisi Mbere was Occidental College’s class of ‘69. He was an assistant Professor of Black Studies. His academic credentials are as followed: B.A., Occidental College; M.A., Cornell University; Ph.D Harvard University. Dr. Mbere, a native South African, was an active member of the Organization of South African Students as well as a member of the South African National Congress. In addition to that, South African Dr. Aggrey Mbere was also an instructor at Roxbury Community College. The image shown above is from an interview captured of Mbere speaking out for the African organization. More specifically Dr. Mbere was a big advocate for Africa’s ongoing issues: revamping aid programs, the United States Civil Rights struggle, liberation occurring with or without outside forces, how communism impacts civil rights. Moreover, Dr. Mbere also discusses the African Liberation Day and how to support the ongoing struggle in Southern Africa through rallies such as the May 26th in Washington D.C.

According to Mbere’s obituary, the academic campaigner passed away on July 13, 2003. For more than thirty five years, Mbere lived in exile up until his triumphant return to South Africa as the ambassador to Rwanda. During his time as the ambassador, Mbere worked hard to encourage South Africa-Rwanda relations through cultural and educational exchanges. In his time of exile, he earned a history degree at Occidental College and went to teach with his degree at the Roxbury Community College in Boston. His public servicing efforts went above and beyond when he helped bring South African President, Nelson Mandela to the city in 1991. This was also around the time when Mbere would be active on live television in his political panel discussions about the econimics of the apartheid. Moreover, Mbere also continued to studies at Cornell and Harvard where he was able to earn a doctorate in education policy as well as administration. He also worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Massachusetts and Northeastern University.

Aggrey Mbere on life under Apartheid - Digital Commonwealth

David Dunn, born in Montana in 1949, was an ambassador to Zambia from 1999-2002, and an ambassador to Togo from 2005 to 2008. He also served at the Consulate General of Johannesburg, South Africa as the Principal Officer from 2002-2005. Ambassador Dunn graduated from Occidental in 1971, and continued on his education to receive master’s degrees from American University and the National War College. He entered the Foreign Service in 1978 and focused specifically on Africa, as demonstrated by his dual ambassadorships, his term at the Consulate General, and assignments in countries such as Tunisia, Burundi, Tanzania and Mauritius. Dunn also served domestically as the deputy director and eventually director of the State Department’s Office of East African Affairs, under the Bureau of African Affairs. This position led him to be involved in the United States’ conflict resolution efforts between Eritrea and Ethiopia.

After having served 30 years in the Foreign Service, Ambassador Dunn spent time as a faculty member at the National War College, where he was the Deputy Commandant and International Affairs Advisor. He also served in several positions in the United States Mission to the UN in New York in in the early to mid-2010s. Despite brief periods of time in various locales in Southern California such as Riverside and Santa Cruz, Dunn now resides in Prescott, Arizona with his family when not in service.

William Bellamy was named Ambassador of the United States to Kenya in 2003 and served until 2006 under the Bush administration. Born in Okmulgee, Oklahoma, Ambassador Bellamy attended Occidental College, graduating in 1972 with a DWA major. Ambassador Bellamy then went on to receive his Master’s in international relations from Tufts University. Before his career in foreign service, Ambassador Bellamy was in journalism and public relationsconsulting in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

Ambassador Bellamy began his thirty year career in foreign service as a political officer in Zimbabwe in 1985. The Ambassador subsequently held a multitude of positions in this field, including as the principal deputy assistant secretary of state for African affairs and as a political counselor in Paris, Pretoria and Cape Town. While he was the Ambassador of the United States to Kenya, Ambassador Bellamy was the supervisor of the United States most comprehensive HIV and AIDS program in history. After thirty years of working in diplomacy, Ambassador Bellamy became a professor at Simmons University, as well as the director of the Africa Center for Strategic Studies at National Defense University. He currently serves on the advisory boards of Occidental College and at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Links for further information:

Ambassador Denise Campbell Bauer ‘86 was appointed United States Ambassador to the French Republic and the Principality of Monaco on December 23, 2021. Previously, from August 2013 to January 2017, Ambassador Bauer served as United States Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium after receiving a nomination from President Obama and a unanimous vote from the U.S. Senate. Ambassador Bauer graduated from Occidental College with a degree in Politics, focusing her studies on foreign affairs and national security. As an alumni from the Class of ‘86, she began her Oxy career around the same time that President Barack Obama had switched schools.

Before she was an ambassador, the California native had an extensive career in television from 1985-1992. Ambassador Bauer hosted multiple fundraisers and raised $4.3 million for President Obama’s two election campaigns. From 2008 to 2012, she served on the Democratic National Committee, serving as Chair and Co-chair of the Women’s Leadership Forum and as Co-chair of the National Issues Conference. As an advocate for women’s political participation, Ambassador Bauer spent much of her time in Brussels supporting women running for office for the first time. She also focused on building transatlantic security partnerships and expanding international trade.

Kristina A. Kvien ‘87 was appointed United States Chargé d’Affaires to Ukraine in May 2019 and served until May 2022.

On February 21, 2023, Ambassador Kvien began serving as the United States Ambassador to Armenia. At Oxy, Ambassador Kvien was a Politics Major and focused her studies on the Soviet Union in the midst of the Cold War. Ambassador Kvien was also an RA for Norris Hall, a member of Delta Omicron Tau, and played for the Women’s Water Polo team.

As of 2022, Ambassador Kvien’s diplomatic career will have reached its 30 year mark. In her 30 years of service, her global career has made an impact on environmental policy and economics and has received multiple State Department performance awards, including five Senior Foreign Service Performance Awards. Before serving as Ambassador to Ukraine, she served as Minister-Counselor for Economic Affairs at the United States Embassy in Paris, France and as Economic Counselor at the United States Embassy in Bangkok, Thailand. Ambassador Kvien has also served as Economic Counselor at the United States Embassy in London, England and was detailed to the National Security Council in Washington D.C. as Director for EU Affairs, EU Economies and Caspian Energy for Ukraine and Belarus.…

Ambassador Kvien presents her credentials (


Mike C. Gonzalez ‘96 studied Diplomacy and World Affairs at Oxy and proceeded to get a Masters in International Development from American University. Ambassador Gonzalez went on to join the Senior Foregn Service for the U.S Government in which he currently holds the title of Minister-Counselor. His main focus in his work is West Africa and the Sahel Region. Some of his previous titles include; Director for Analysis of Africa for the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires, a.i. At the U.S Embassy in both Nepal and Malawi, Counselor for Political and Economic Affairs at U.S. Embassies in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia; the Horn of Africa Unit Chief in the Office of East African Affairs; Deputy Public Affairs Officer in Kampala, Uganda; Information Officer and Embassy Spokesman in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; and Environment, Science, and Technology Officer in Dhaka, Bangladesh. In 2020 Gonzales joined the U.S Bureau of African Affairs.

Some of the Ambassador’s main focuses through his work have been to build U.S partnerships with host governments, promote civil society organizations, open political space, improve business environments, protect human rights, and expand economic opportunity. He is well respected for his work and has received numerous awards for his accomplishments. Ambassador Gonzales has been awarded the Mike William R. Rivkin Award for Constructive Dissent, was the runner up for the James Clement Dunn Award for Excellence, as well as a five time recipient of the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award.

Oxy and Japan

For his comprehensive project, Jonathan Fang '23 created a website covering Oxy's impact on U.S.-Japan relations, with a segment on U. Alexis Johnson '31 and Toshiro Henry Shimanouchi '31. Click here to view his project.

Oxy and Russia

Ambassador Derek Shearer has had a lifelong involvement with Russia, including during his time as US ambassador to Finland. HIs reflections on Russia were published in the fall/winter issue of Inroads, the leading Canadian journal of public policy:

Oxy and Africa

Oxy and the Visiting Language Assistant Program

Oxy and the United Nations

Contact McKinnon Center for Global Affairs
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