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"History and Future of Vatican Diplomacy" Program at Georgetown University Honors Reagan Centennial

October 20, 2011 - WASHINGTON, DC

Ronald Reagan's decision to appoint the first US Ambassador to the Holy See will be honored by a Reagan Centennial Academic Symposium at Georgetown University on October 25. The Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C., two Former U.S. Ambassadors to the Holy See, the Dean of Georgetown's School of Foreign Service, the author of "The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister" and leadership from the Institute of Religion and Public Policy will examine and discuss how Vatican diplomacy has evolved into a critical component of US-global diplomacy.

Participants Include:

  • John J. DeGioia, President, Georgetown University
  • Fred Ryan, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation
  • John O'Sullivan, author of "The President, the Pope, and the Prime Minister"; former speechwriter for Margaret Thatcher; and currently the Executive Director of Radio Free Europe
  • Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C.
  • R. James Nicholson, Former US Ambassador to the Holy See and Secretary of Veterans Affairs
  • L. Francis Rooney III, Former US Ambassador to the Holy See
  • Carol Lancaster, Dean, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service
  • Joe Grieboski, Founder and Chairman, The Institute on Religion and Public Policy

"What a remarkable tribute to the life and legacy of President Reagan to have such a distinguished panel gathered today," said Executive Director of the Ronald Reagan Centennial Celebration Stewart McLaurin. "The seed which Ronald Reagan sowed by appointing the first U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See has grown into one of America's most important diplomatic relationships."

Through sharing examples from their own experience, the panelists will explore how the role of U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See has changed over the years. The moderator, Georgetown School of Foreign Service Dean Carol Lancaster, will focus on key moments in U.S.-Vatican diplomacy. Overcoming these tensions, and others, is an important part of how this historic role has evolved from the time when President Reagan appointed the first U.S. Ambassador to the present.

"President Reagan not only forged a strong personal relationship with His Holiness John Paul II, but also an important diplomatic synergy between the United States and the Holy See," said Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. "Today's program honoring President Reagan in his Centennial year highlights the relationship between the Holy See and the United States and the diplomatic role and reach of American and Vatican diplomacy."

This academic symposium with Georgetown University is one of six Centennial partnerships with great American universities including the University of Southern California, the University of Virginia, Notre Dame, Pepperdine and the United States Naval Academy. Each symposium has focused on a different aspect of the President's life, leadership and legacy.

The Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation Centennial Celebration is a historic year-long celebration commemorating 100 years since the birth of the 40th President of the United States of America, Ronald Reagan. Visit to learn more. The mission of the Reagan Presidential Foundation is to preserve and promote his legacy of inspired freedom.

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Media Contacts:

Melissa Giller
(805) 522-2977

Rachel Pugh
(202) 687-4328


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