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Past ambassador notes rapid gain in economic growth outside the U.S.
Nov 15, 2013 - By Alejandra Silva, Staff Writer
Expertise in global policy and economic structure was present Wednesday at Central Wyoming College as former U.S. Ambassador Marc Wall shared his experience from more than 30 years of working as an diplomat in places such as China and Africa.
Wall is the current University of Wyoming visiting senior scholar in global studies, the U.S. Pacific Command's foreign policy adviser, and a former U.S. ambassador to Chad. He is traveling the state this semester and speak to groups as part of UW's Global Studies Excellence Initiative, which is funded by the Wyoming Excellence in Higher Education Endowment.
The endowment was created by the Wyoming State Legislature in 2006 and provided direction in inviting distinguished scholars and educators and allowed them to tie their expertise to the state of Wyoming.
Jean Garrison, the director of global and area studies at UW, said international studies is one of the fastest growing majors at UW. She said Wall's presentation was his first visit in Riverton.
"He has brought a very rich, 37-year career in foreign service," Garrison said.
Wall addressed a number of topics as he spoke to attending students and other community members Wednesday. He described what his jobs entailed and detailed the lessons and experiences he gained throughout his duties.
Wall said he started out as an economic officer in the foreign service and later his first job in Washington dealt with international trade negotiations. His first overseas assignment was in West Africa. Several years later, Wall said he wanted to devote himself to working in Asia.
"I decided to become a China hat," Wall said, adding that he rigorously studied Chinese.
After getting the language down, Wall became a trade officer in the embassy in Beijing and focused on Asian economic issues in Washington. He later worked in Taiwan and then returned again to Washington to teach economics and other courses on Northeast Asia at the National Defense University.
He said he later took the role of ambassador to Chad but soon found himself back in Asia where he became the foreign policy adviser at the U.S. Pacific Command -- the military headquarters responsible for security policy in the Asia Pacific region. He also worked on reconstruction programs for Iraq.
"I started off working largely in economic and trade and business areas, and over the years I gravitated increasingly toward international security issues," Wall said. "But that's reflective of the kind of career one also often has in the foreign service. You end up doing a lot of different things."
Economic trade and diplomacy in the Asia Pacific region was an area in which he said he was proudest and most involved. Wall then went into a discussion revolving around the changes and growth that region underwent to transform their economic status and become the richest part of the world and have the second- and third-largest economies -- China and Japan.
"It's the fastest-growing part of the world," he said. "It really is the growth center of the world economy."
Despite their economic prosperity, Wall said the region continues to hold rivalry and animosity, and it's those same tensions that can also threaten their economic prosperity.
Wall further discussed "Asia's economic miracle" and how other neighboring countries caught on to the success and pursued low wage manufacturing options, international trade and smart investment choices. Wall said a lot of their changes in their economy could be attributed to political leaders who took the first steps in different directions.
"Countries changed their whole approach to their world economy," Wall said. "There was a change in the mindset."
When they came out of colonial rule, and Wall said he was there to see it transform communities. He also explained how the U.S. security alliances in East Asia was a "key factor in permitting their growth."
By giving students a glimpse of where he has been, what he has learned and his duties in foreign policy, students followed his presentation with questions on his academic education and other things like ties between the Chinese economy and the American recession.