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Last modified: Monday, October 1, 2007

Former Deputy Secretary of State Strobe Talbott to present Patten Lecture

Oct. 2, 2007

Strobe Talbott

Strobe Talbott

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BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Strobe Talbott, president of The Brookings Institution and former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, is the next speaker in the Indiana University Patten Lecture Series. Talbott will give two lectures, both free and open to the public. The first, "Repairs Ahead: American Foreign Policy in the Post-Bush Era," is scheduled for Oct. 10 (Wednesday) and the second, "India, America, and the World," for Oct. 11 (Thursday) with Jaswant Singh, former Foreign Minister of India. Both lectures will be held in Rawles Hall, Room 100 at 7:30 p.m.

Talbott's early career was spent as a journalist with Time magazine, where he worked for 21 years. His many posts included duty as an Eastern European correspondent, State Department correspondent, White House correspondent, diplomatic correspondent, and Washington Bureau Chief. His tenure at Time culminated with his being named foreign affairs columnist and editor-at-large.

He left Time magazine in 1993 to work for the U.S. State Department. In this capacity, Talbott served as Ambassador-at-Large and Special Adviser to the Secretary of State on the New Independent States before becoming Deputy Secretary of State from 1994 to 2001.

Talbott conducted several rounds of U.S.-India negotiations in this capacity following India's nuclear tests in 1998. His principal counterpart in those negotiations, former India Foreign Minister Jaswant Singh, will join Talbott in the second of his Patten lectures.

In his lecture "Repairs Ahead," Talbott says that it is not surprising that the 2008 presidential campaign is focusing to an unusual extent on foreign policy. He will assess the Bush record, put it in the historical context of the last 50 years, and offer suggestions on how the next U.S. leader can meet the triple challenge he or she will inherit: repairing the damage that Bush's brand of unilateralism has inflicted on the national interest; re-establishing American leadership in the international community; and addressing two urgent threats to the planet, nuclear proliferation and climate change.

The discussion of "India, America, and the World" will address Talbott's concern that the two largest and oldest democracies on earth have emerged from decades of estrangement that afflicted their relations during the Cold War. He believes here is a solid basis for optimism, but there are also reasons for concern. Drawing on his experience as President Clinton's special envoy for dealing with India in the 1990s, Talbott will evaluate India's emergence as a potential global power with former Foreign Minister of India Jaswant Singh.

For more information on Talbott, visit

Patten Lecture Series History

Since 1937, the William T. Patten Foundation has provided generous funds to bring to IU Bloomington people of extraordinary national and international distinction. Since the first Patten lecture, more than 180 world-renowned scholars have lectured at Indiana University under the auspices of the Patten Foundation. Noted specialists in their fields, speakers have been chosen for their ability to convey the significance of their work to a general audience. Chosen by a campus-wide faculty committee, Patten Lectures have represented over 50 academic departments and programs.

William T. Patten received his A.B. degree in 1893 in history from IU. After graduation he settled in Indianapolis, where he made a career in real estate and politics, including serving as county auditor. He remained appreciative of the educational opportunities that IU had afforded him, and toward the end of his life, in 1931, made a gift to the university in the form of liberty bonds and Indiana municipal and county bonds. The gift was to be held as an endowment bearing his name, and the income used for bringing to the campus eminent leaders in their fields for residence and lectures to enrich the intellectual life of the campus.

Remaining lectures in the Patten series, include:

  • Neta Bahcall, professor of astrophysics, Princeton University, will speak on Tuesday, Oct. 23, and Thursday, Oct. 25, in Ballantine Hall, room 109.
  • Martha Nussbaum, Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago, will speak on Tuesday, Feb. 12, and Thursday, Feb. 14.
  • Gillian Beer, King Edward VII Professor of English Literature and President of Clare Hall (ret.), University of Cambridge will speak on Tuesday, April 8 and Thursday, April 10.

For a more complete history on William T. Patten and further details on the upcoming lecture series, visit