Saturday, April 21 , 2018, 9:58 pm | Fair 56º


‘UCSB Champions of Public Service’ Panel Discussion to Showcase Gaucho Path to International Service

Gaucho diplomats will share how their UC Santa Barbara education inspired them to pursue careers in the foreign service at the All Gaucho Reunion’s “UCSB Champions of Public Service: The Gaucho Path to International Service” panel discussion, presented by the UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association and the Walter H. Capps Center for the Study of Ethics, Religion and Public Life, and sponsored by the UC Education Abroad Program.

The event will begin at 7 p.m. Friday, April 29, at the Corwin Pavilion on the UCSB campus.

“UCSB Champions of Public Service” will feature distinguished alumni Barbara Bodine (’70), Marc Grossman (’73), Giandomenico Picco (MA ’71) and Joseph C. Wilson (’71).

The discussion will be moderated by UCSB professor Mark Juergensmeyer, the founding director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies at UCSB.

Alumni Panelists

Marc Grossman (’73) served in the United States Foreign Service for over 25 years. He served as U.S. ambassador to Turkey, assistant secretary of state for European affairs and under secretary of state for political affairs. He was also the United States representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Marc Grossman (’73) Click to view larger
Marc Grossman (’73) (Courtesy photo)

In 2004, Grossman attained the Foreign Service’s highest rank when phe President appointed him to career ambassador. In 2005, he received the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award.

Grossman now serves as the vice chairman of The Cohen Group.

Barbara Bodine (’70) received the U.S. Secretary State Award for Valor for her work in occupied Kuwait in 1990 while deputy chief of mission. She has served as the U.S. ambassador to Yemen from 1997-2001, as well as in Iraq twice.

Barbara Bodine (’70) Click to view larger
Barbara Bodine (’70) (Courtesy photo)

She also worked as the coordinator for ​counterterrorism, director of East African affairs and in multiple assignments in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

A distinguished alumna of UCSB, Bodine has served as alumni regent on the UC Board of Regents. She was also president of the UCSB Alumni Association and the diplomat-in-residence at UCSB’s Global and International Studies Program.

She is currently director of the Institute for the Study of Diplomacy and distinguished professor in the practice of diplomacy at Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

Giandomenico Picco (MA ’71) served at the United Nations for over two decades. As UN under secretary general, he worked to achieve peace in a troubled world through marshalling peacekeeping efforts, dispute arbitration and troop withdrawal from combat areas as well as negotiating ceasefires.

Giandomenico Picco (MA ’71) Click to view larger
Giandomenico Picco (MA ’71) (Courtesy photo)

Between 1989-92, Picco negotiated the release of Western hostages and other missing or detained without due process from Lebanon. In 1991, he received the U.S. President’s Special Award for Exceptional Service.

He now works in the private sector as a consultant and is a member of various institutions focused on international affairs.

Joseph C. Wilson (’71) is best known for his 2002 trip to Niger to investigate allegations Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was attempting to purchase yellowcake uranium.

Joseph Wilson (’71) Click to view larger
Joseph Wilson (’71) (Courtesy photo)

For over two decades, Wilson has served in Africa on diplomatic missions in the Niger, Tago, South Africa, Burundi and the Republic of the Congo. In 1990, he was the last American diplomat to meet with Hussein to negotiate Iraq’s withdrawal from Kuwait.

He went on to serve as U.S. ambassador to Gabon and São Tomé and Príncipe. He also was appointed as political advisor to the Commander in Chief of the U.S. Armed Forces in Stuttgart, Germany.

He now manages JC Wilson International Ventures Corp. and serves as a guest speaker at programs and conferences dedicated to African business policies and politics.

Mark Juergensmeyer is the founding director of the Orfalea Center for Global and International Studies, UCSB professor emeritus of sociology and affiliate professor of religious studies at UC Santa Barbara.

He is an expert on religious violence, conflict resolution and South Asian religion and politics, and he has published more than two hundred articles and 20 books, including the recently-released Global Rebellion: Religious Challenges to the Secular State.

His book Terror in the Mind of God: The Global Rise of Religious Violence was listed by The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times as one of the best nonfiction works of the year.

Juergensmeyer is the 2003 recipient of the prestigious Grawemeyer Award for contributions to the study of religion and is the 2004 recipient of the Silver Award of the Queen Sofia Center for the Study of Violence in Spain.

He was elected president of the American Academy of Religion, and he chairs the working group on religion and international affairs for the national Social Science Research Council.

Community members, alumni, students and faculty are also invited to a pre-event VIP reception from 5:30-6:30 p.m., at Mosher Alumni House. The VIP reception ticket includes food, beverages and admittance to the panel discussion at Corwin Pavilion.

Proceeds from the VIP pre-discussion reception will benefit the Capps Center’s Sara Miller McCune Endowed Internship and Public Service Program.

The Single VIP ticket is $50, a couple’s VIP ticket is $75.

General admission for the panel discussion is $10. UCSB students can attend the panel for free.

To register for the VIP pre-discussion and the panel discussion, visit

This panel discussion is one of several events and activities taking place during the 10th All Gaucho Reunion Weekend, running from Thursday, April 28, to Sunday, May 1. A complete list of events can be found at

— George Thurlow is the executive director of the UCSB Alumni Association.

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