Hostetter-DeFries - Lambertson Returns to OU

Posted by Paula Paine on May 23, 2011 in Alumni, Events, "School of Arts and Sciences", "The College" The annual Hostetter-DeFries Family Endowed Cultural Event was held at The College on March 30 and 31. The keynote speaker for this year’s event was David Lambertson, the former U.S. Ambassador to Thailand and the nephew of Rev. Milan Lambertson ’49, a prominent OU™ alumnus. Lambertson’s first address was entitled, “The United States and the World, 2011 – What Can We Do for Our Country?” He based his comments around the famous quote from President John F. Kennedy’s inaugural address, “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.” Lambertson says although these are uncertain times for the U.S., the country remains a primary world leader. In order for it to continue as a formidable player on the world stage, Lambertson contended that citizens must support and be engaged in all levels of societal and political life. The weekly Ottawa University Chapel session featured Lambertson’s second address entitled “East Asia Rising: What it Means for the United States.” One of the focuses was on China and how it has emerged as a leading economic power. Lambertson purported, however, that this should not be viewed as a bad thing. “It’s much better to have a China that is an important part of the global economy, including having an important economic relationship with [the United States], than to have a China that’s isolated, suspicious, radical, like it was back in the 1960s. That was a scary China,” said Lambertson. Lambertson spent one year at Ottawa University (1958-59) before moving on to the University of Redlands in California, where he graduated in 1962. The following year, Lambertson entered U.S. Foreign Service and was assigned to the Embassy in Saigon, Vietnam, from 1965 to 1968; to Medan, Indonesia, from 1969 to 1971; and to Paris, France, between 1971 and 1973 as a liaison officer and press spokesman for the U.S. Delegation to the Vietnam peace talks. Lambertson returned to the State Department in Washington in 1973, first to the Office of East Asian Regional Affairs and then to the Office of Japanese Affairs as its deputy director. He was posted to Tokyo from 1977- 1980 as deputy chief of the political section. Lambertson attended the Royal College of Defence Studies in London in 1981, after which he returned to Washington as director of the Office of Korean Affairs. He was deputy chief of mission of the U.S. Embassies in Canberra, Australia, and Seoul, Korea, between 1984 and 1987. From 1987 to 1990, Lambertson was deputy assistant secretary of state, with responsibility for the ten countries of Southeast Asia. In 1991, Lambertson was named as U.S. Ambassador to Thailand by President George H. W. Bush and served in that capacity until 1995. Today, he serves as an adjunct professor at the University of Kansas and at the Command and General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Lambertson’s visit to Ottawa University was funded by the Hostetter-DeFries Family Endowed Cultural Fund, which was established in 1999 by Ottawa University alumni Dr. Stanley L.’50 and Alice Jo (Hostetter) ‘51 DeFries. The goal of the fund and annual cultural event is to host guest speakers who have contributed significantly to the social, artistic or cultural improvement of society.