Baker Will Offer Foreign Affairs Lecture

Posted February 23, 2007 at 6:03pm

Former Secretary of State James Baker will give the fifth Kissinger Lecture on Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Library of Congress on Tuesday.

Currently a senior partner with the law firm Baker Botts, Baker was co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group, which assessed the situation in Iraq in 2006. In the same year, Baker published his memoir “Work Hard, Study … and Keep Out of Politics! Adventures and Lessons from an Unexpected Public Life.”

Originally from Houston, Baker graduated from Princeton University in 1952 and attended the University of Texas School of Law at Austin. Baker served as Secretary of Commerce to President Gerald Ford in 1975. Baker was chief of staff in then-President Ronald Reagan’s first term and Treasury secretary in his second. As the Secretary of State under President George H.W. Bush, Baker traveled to more than 90 countries from 1989 to 1992.

“The expectations in doing a lecture like this is that the reflections of a key international figure will help people better understand whatever issue [the speaker] choose[s] to address,” said Carolyn Brown, director of the LOC’s Office of Scholarly Programs.

The event was launched in 2001 with an inaugural lecture by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Valery Giscard d’Estaing, former president of France, was the second speaker in 2003; former Secretary of State George Shultz spoke in 2004; and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, former president of Brazil, spoke in 2005.

The lecture is free, open to the public and will take place at the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building. The event also will be featured on the Web at www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc.

Southwest Waterfront Transferred to AWC

After more than two years of public disputes and stunted negotiations, a valuable piece of Southwest Waterfront property soon will be handed over to the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation. The transfer means the quasi-government organization can implement its revitalization plan, bringing an estimated 4,300 permanent and temporary jobs to the area.

Dispute over the property began when the D.C. City Council created the AWC to oversee development along the Anacostia River; the Southwest property is part of its redevelopment plan. But vague legislation led to failed deals with the National Capital Revitalization Corp., another quasi-government organization that controls the property.

This public clash drew criticism from the D.C. City Council, which now is considering a bill that would eliminate both agencies and put their responsibilities under Mayor Adrian Fenty’s (D) office.

Under the deal, the NCRC will receive some of the city’s properties after turning over the Southwest land. Former Ward 6 Councilwoman Sharon Ambrose and At-large Councilman Kwame Brown helped negotiate the deal, according to an AWC press release. Neil Albert, deputy mayor for planning and economic development, also took part in negotiations and recently took over as interim president for the AWC.

For now, the organization plans to move ahead with development plans for the Southwest site and hopes eventually to generate $25 million in annual tax revenue, according to the release.

— Marnette Federis and Emily Yehle