Diplomat to address local world affairs forum
Western Colorado may seem isolated sometimes, and the boundaries of the Grand Valley may seem fortress-like, but still the world is huge. All it takes is an interest and a little effort to venture out into it.
So, in the spirit of world-expanding and horizon-broadening, the World Affairs Council of Western Colorado will hold its first meeting at 7 p.m. Tuesday in the Moss Performing Arts Center at Colorado Mesa University. The event is free and open to the public.
The featured speaker will be Duane Butcher Jr., a career diplomat with the Senior U.S. Foreign Service, who will discuss America, Europe and Ukraine since the fall of the Berlin Wall. Butcher has served as chargé d’affaires at U.S. Embassies in Bucharest, Romania, and Tashkent, Uzbekistan, and recently was awarded the National Order Star of Romania by Romanian President Traian Basescu.
Through his career, Butcher has served in various capacities at U.S. embassies in Hamburg, Germany; Baku, Azerbaijan; Muscat, Oman; and Belgrade in the former Yugoslavia, among others.
He also is the son of Grand Junction resident Duane Butcher, who retired here after a 30-year career in the Senior U.S. Foreign Service. In fact, Duane Butcher Sr., along with Grand Junction City Councilman Bennett Boeschenstein and Colorado Mesa University Professor Tim Casey, founded the World Affairs Council of Western Colorado.
“I think Grand Junction has changed enormously in the 20 years I have been here,” he explained. “I think there is a critical mass of people here from all walks of life who have been abroad, who have served in NGOs, who have worked in the private sector, they’ve worked for things like Peace Corps.
“We have doctors from other countries who are working at St. Mary’s and Community, doctors here who are going abroad to donate service. We have a huge reservoir of people who have experience and knowledge, so we want to tap that reservoir and at the same time bring in speakers and broaden people’s knowledge, expose them to different cultures and languages and religions and ways of thinking.”
Butcher said that among the World Affairs Council’s goals are to outreach to K-12 schools as well as universities, bring in speakers and host smaller seminars for discussion of world events.