Public Service and Education, S - T


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Antoinette Sayeh, F80, F82, FG85
World-renowned economist who initiated Liberia’s economic reconstruction
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Tufts Degrees: M.A., 1980; M.A.L.D., 1982; Ph.D., International Economic Relations, 1985

Other Degrees: B.A., Economics with Honors, Swarthmore College

Awards & Honors: Knight of the Great Band of Liberia in the Humane Order of African Redemption, 2008; Lucretia Mott Award for literary scholarship, Swarthmore College.

Biography: Dr. Antoinette M. Sayeh is a Liberian economist. In her esteemed career, Dr. Sayeh has worked in the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and served as the Minister of Finance of her native Liberia from 2006 to 2008. Her work as Minister of Finance launched the full-scale economic and financial reconstruction of post-civil war Liberia. Currently, Dr. Sayeh is the director of the African Department at the International Monetary Fund.

Prior to her appointment to Minister of Finance in Liberia in 2006, Dr. Sayeh led an accomplished career in the World Bank for nearly two decades, including working as country director for Benin, Niger and Togo. Additionally, she was the Country Economist on Afghanistan and Pakistan. She also served as Assistant to the World Bank’s Principal Managing Director and as Advisor in its Operations Policy Vice Presidency. Dr. Sayeh has also worked as an economic advisor in the Liberia’s Ministries of Finance and Planning.

As Minister of Finance, Dr. Sayeh led the financial efforts in the rebuilding of Liberia. Her work helped Liberia regain stability and international recognition after the political and economic isolation brought on by the civil war. Under Dr. Sayeh’s leadership and with the combination of military, humanitarian, technical and financial assistance, Liberia was able to recover from the ravages of the conflict. She also spearheaded the process of debt-reduction, which resulted in a package writing off more than 90 percent of Liberia’s foreign debt.

In 2008, Dr. Sayeh joined the International Monetary Fund as the Director of the African Department, where she is working to encourage the Fund’s evolution in order to respond better to economic reforms in Africa.

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Ellery F. Schempp, A62
Physicist known for his campaigning for separation of church and state in the United States
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Tufts Degrees: B.S., Physics and Geology, 1962

Other Degrees: Ph.D., Physics, Brown University, 1967

Awards & Honors: Freethought Backbone Award, Secular Students Alliance, 2010; Champion of the First Amendment Award, Freedom from Religion Foundation, 2007; Religious Liberty Award, American Humanist Association, 2005; Religious Liberty Award, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, 1996. Elected to Abington High School Hall of Fame, 2002.

Biography: Dr. Ellery Schempp (formerly spelled Ellory) is best known for his involvement with the landmark First Amendment case Abington School District vs. Schempp and for his vocal support for the separation of church and state.

As a high school student at Abington High School in Pennsylvania, Ellery objected to the school’s rules, which required that all students must listen to passages from the Bible and recite the Lord’s Prayer daily. Having grown up as a theologically liberal Unitarian Universalist, Dr. Schempp felt his religious freedom was violated and eventually, after protesting at the school, Ellery and his family, with help from the American Civil Liberties Union, sued the Abington School district arguing that the mandatory Bible readings were unconstitutional. The lawsuit led to the United States Supreme Court ruling in an 8-1 landmark decision that organized Bible readings and prayer in public schools violated the First Amendment. Professor Stephen D. Solomon of New York University has written a book about Dr. Schempp’s lawsuit and its implications in the public school system, Ellery’s Protest.

Dr. Schempp attributes many of his life experiences to Prof. Robert L. Nichols at Tufts. “I have had the good fortune to have worked 400 miles from the North Pole and 800 miles from the South Pole thanks to Prof. Robert Nichols at Tufts. Later to be on many mountain peaks in New Hampshire, the Sierras, the Alps, the Himalayas. I enjoyed these unique places immensely and they were transforming in my life.”

Dr. Schempp has continued to be a vocal supporter of both the ACLU and the separation of church and state. As a frequent speaker at Secular Humanist meetings, Dr. Schempp raises questions regarding the state of the democracy, the Constitution and the Bill of Rights in America. Dr. Schempp is also a member of the American Humanist Association, Americans United for the Separation of Church and State, the National Center for Science Education, and the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Bedford. He also has taught a class on the separation of church and state at Tufts’ Experimental College.

Today, Dr. Schempp lives in Medford close to Tufts with his fiancée Arlene Germain. He is most noted on the Internet for his parody essay, “Gravity: Just a Theory”.

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Ram Shrestha, N90
Public Health advocate whose work significantly reduced infant mortality in Nepal
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Tufts Degrees: M.A., Nutrition, 1990

Awards & Honors: Frontline Award Winner, for cutting-edge work in the field of nutrition, Tufts Nutrition School, 2006; Global Health Hero, Time Global Health Summit, 2005; International Award for Best Practices in Global Health, Global Health Council, 2000

Biography: Ram Shrestha, a Nepalese nutritionist, has successfully reduced the infant mortality rate in Nepal through community-based vitamin A distribution programs.

Several nutritional studies had shown that the high infant mortality rate in Mr. Shrestha’s native Nepal was largely due to poor diet and especially the lack of vitamin A. In 1993, Mr. Shrestha was appointed to tackle the distribution of the vitamin in Nepal, but he quickly ran into problems: the terrain in Nepal was difficult and the volunteers in the program were not reliable. By organizing medical and economic benefits for his volunteers, Mr. Shrestha created a support network, which was vital to the success of the vitamin distribution program. He continued to utilize the local communities to promote nutrition education in order to create a feeling of ownership of the program among the villagers, who are not known to be responsive to outsiders. In recruiting grandmothers as volunteers, Mr. Shrestha truly galvanized the support and function of the program in Nepal. Mr. Shrestha realized that grandmothers were underutilized in the program in relation to the influence they wielded in the family communities. The program boasts approximately 50,000 female community health volunteers who have helped distribute vitamin A to 3.5 million Nepalese children annually, which has dramatically cut the infant-mortality rate in Nepal in addition to reducing eye diseases in pregnant women. Thanks to the success of Mr. Shrestha’s program, the Nepalese government has asked the vitamin A volunteer network to treat pneumonia cases with antibiotics. Mr. Shrestha’s work in public health will influence Nepal for many generations to come.

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Alan D. Solomont, A70
United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., Political Science and Urban Studies, 1970

Other Degrees: B.S., Nursing, University of Massachusetts at Lowell, 1977; Hon L.H.D. UMass Lowell, 1994

Awards & Honors: Philanthropist of the Year, Association of Fundraising Professionals, 2004; Healthcare Entrepreneur of the Year in New England by INC magazine, 1993; Thomas J. Watson Fellow, 1970.

Biography: Alan D. Solomont is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, political activist, and most recently, the United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra.

Prior to his nomination by President Obama to lead the United States Embassy in Spain, Ambassador Solomont served as Chairman of the bipartisan Board of Directors of the Corporation for National and Community Service, which oversees the federal government’s national service initiatives: AmeriCorps and VISTA, the National Senior Service Corps and Learn & Serve America. He was appointed to this Board by President Clinton in 2000, re-appointed by President Bush in 2007, and elected Chairman in 2009. A longtime leader in the Democratic Party, Mr. Solomont served as National Finance Chair of the Democratic National Committee from 1997 to 1998. He was also a prominent supporter of both the John Kerry and Barack Obama presidential campaigns in 2004 and 2008, respectively. As a political activist committed to Middle East peace and a democratic Israel, Ambassador Solomont has advised many U.S. government officials on issues relating to the peace process and Israel. Among many recognitions, Ambassador Solomont was honored by the Israel Policy Forum in 2001 for his commitment to the Middle East peace process.

As a healthcare entrepreneur, Ambassador Solomont helped to build a broad and innovative network of post-acute eldercare services. As the founder and CEO of the A.D.S Group, he played a key role in promoting innovation and quality in the delivery of services to an aging population. Following the sale of the A•D•S Group in 1997, he shifted his focus to home-based care and launched HouseWorks, a company whose mission is to help seniors remain independent in their own homes.

In the philanthropic arena, Ambassador Solomont was the Vice Chairman of Boston Medical Center and the Chairman of Hebrew Senior Life, a large, non-profit provider of eldercare. He also served as a member of the boards of the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, Cradles to Crayons, United Leader, Jewish Fund for Justice and the WGBH Educational Foundation. Ambassador Solomont also served as a Trustee of Tufts University, and he was the founding chair of the Board of Advocates of the Jonathan M. Tisch College of Citizenship and Public Service. He taught a political science course at Tufts on the American Presidency.

In 2009, Ambassador Solomont was nominated by President Barack Obama to be United States Ambassador to Spain and Andorra. Shortly after his January 2010 arrival, Ambassador Solomont presented his credentials to His Majesty King Juan Carlos I of Spain.

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James Stavridis, F84, FG85
Dean of the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, First United States Navy Admiral appointed Commander of the U.S. European Command and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander in Europe
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Tufts Degrees: M.A.L.D., 1984; Ph.D., 1985

Other Degrees: U.S. Naval Academy, 1976, Distinguished Graduate; Naval War College 1984, Distinguished Graduate; National War College 1992, Distinguished Graduate

Awards & Honors: Medal of Freedom, 2004; John Paul Jones Awards for Inspirational Leadership, 1998; Defense Distinguished Service Medal; Defense Superior Service Medal; five awards of the Legion of Merit; Gullion Prize for outstanding students, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, 1983.

Biography: James Stavridis was recently appointed Dean of the Fletcher School of Law & Diplomacy, at Tufts University, starting officially on July 1, 2013. Stavridis succeeds Ambassador Steven Bosworth, who served as dean from 2001-2013.

Prior to his appointment as dean, Stavridis served as an admiral in the United States Navy, and former Commander, U.S. European Command (USEUCOM) and NATO's Supreme Allied Commander, Europe (SACEUR), a post he assumed in 2009. He was the first Navy officer to become USEUCOM's and SACEUR's combatant commander. He previously served as Commander, U.S. Southern Command from 2006-2009. Admiral Stavridis is also a highly decorated naval officer with several commands at sea in combat.

Admiral Stavridis is a career surface warfare officer and served at sea in carriers, cruisers, and destroyers. Admiral Stavridis commanded destroyer, USS Barry from 1993-1995, completing deployments to Haiti, Bosnia, and the Persian Gulf. Barry won the Battenberg Cup as the top ship in the Atlantic Fleet under his command. In 1998, he commanded Destroyer Squadron 21 and deployed to the Persian Gulf in 1998, winning the Navy League's John Paul Jones Award for Inspirational Leadership. During Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, from 2002 to 2004, Admiral Stavridis commanded Enterprise Carrier Strike Group, conducting combat operations in the Persian Gulf. Afterwards, Admiral Stavridis served as senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense. In 2006, he became the first Navy Commanding Officer of the U.S. Southern Command in Miami, FL.

Ashore, Admiral Stavridis served as a strategic and long range planner on the staffs of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the start of the Global War on Terror, he was selected as the Director of the Navy Operations Group, Deep Blue. He has also served as the executive assistant to the Secretary of the Navy and the senior military assistant to the Secretary of Defense. He is the author of five books, including “Partnership for the Americas” about Latin America; “Command at Sea” about the seagoing profession; and “Destroyer Captain,” a memoir of being a ship captain.

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Laura Denvir Stith, J75
Missouri Supreme Court Judge
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., Political Science and Social Psychology, 1975

Other Degrees: J.D., Georgetown University, 1978

Awards & Honors: Benjamin N. Cardozo Award for Judicial Courage and Excellence, Missouri Association of Criminal Defense Attorneys, 2010; Joseph Stevens Aspire to Excellence Award, Kansas City Metropolitan Bar Association, 2009; Daily Record Legal Leader of the Year, 2008; Distinguished Non-Alumnus Award, University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, 2006; Georgetown University Law Center Women’s Forum Alumna Award, 2003; Judge of the Year, Association of Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City, 2002.

Biography: The Honorable Laura Denvir Stith is a judge on the Missouri Supreme Court, to which she was appointed in 2001. She served as Chief Justice for the 2007-2009 term, making her only the second woman in the history of the Missouri Supreme Court to hold that office.

After receiving her Juris Doctoris from Georgetown University Law Center in 1978, Judge Stith served as a law clerk for Chief Justice Robert Seiler of the Missouri Supreme Court for one year and then practiced for 15 years with the law firm of Shook, Hardy and Bacon in Kansas City. She then was appointed as a judge of the Missouri Court of Appeals, where she served from 1994 until her appointment to the Missouri Supreme Court in 2001.

Judge Stith is a founding director for Lawyers Encouraging Academic Performance ("LEAP") and she has been an active member and speaker within the legal community. She has served as the chair of the Gender and Justice Joint Committee of the Missouri Bar and the Missouri Supreme Court and as the president of the Association of Women Lawyers of Greater Kansas City. She is married to fellow lawyer Donald G. Scott and has three daughters.

Judge Stith’s more recent publications include: Stith and Root, The Missouri Nonpartisan Court Plan: The Least Political Method of Selecting High Quality Judges, 74 Mo. L. Rev. 713 (2009); Stith, Just Because You Can Measure Something, Does it Really Count? 58 Duke L.J. 1743 (2009); and Stith, A Contrast of State and Federal Court Authority to Grant Habeas Relief, 38 Valparaiso Law Rev. 421 (2004).

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Shashi Tharoor, F76, FG77, FG79
Author, human rights activist and politician
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Tufts Degrees: M.A., International Relations, 1976; M.A.L.D., International Relations, 1977; Ph.D., International Relations, 1979

Other Degrees: B.A., History, St. Stephen’s College, New Delhi, India

Awards & Honors: Doctor of Letters in International Affairs, University of Puget Sound; Doctorate Honoris Causa, University of Bucharest, Romania

Biography: Zakir Hussain Memorial Pride of India Award, 2009; Hakin Khan Sur Award for National Integration, Maharana of Udaipur, 2009; Global Leader of Tomorrow, World Economic Forum in Davos, 1998; Exelsior Award for Excellence in literature, Association of Indians in America and the Network of Indian Professionals, 1998; Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, 1990; Best Book of the Year Award, Federation of Indian Publishers and Hindustan Times Literary Award, 1990; Rajika Kripalani Young Journalist Award for the Best Indian Journalist Under 30, 1976; Robert B. Stewart Prize for Best Student, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

Author, peace-keeper, refugee worker, human rights activist, a former Minister of State for External Affairs and now a member of the Indian Parliament, Tharoor has had an illustrious career in politics and the United Nations.

His UN career began in 1978, when he joined the staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Geneva, and included key responsibilities in peace-keeping after the Cold War. As Special Assistant to the Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations (1989-1996), Dr. Tharoor assisted two successive heads of United Nations peacekeeping operations in managing the challenges of unprecedented growth and evolution in peacekeeping at the end of the Cold War. From 1991 to 1996, he led the team in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations responsible for the United Nations peacekeeping operations in the former Yugoslavia. Dr. Tharoor also served as senior adviser to the Secretary-General, as well as the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information until 2007. As Under-Secretary-General, Dr. Tharoor established United Nations’ communications strategy, ensuring the coherence and the effectiveness of the United Nations’ external message.

Dr Tharoor left the United Nations after narrowly losing the election to succeed Secretary-General Kofi Annan, coming a close second in balloting at the Security Council. He returned to India and contested elections to Parliament, winning the Communist-held seat of Thiruvananthapuram, capital of Kerala State, in May 2009 with a record majority of 100,000 votes. He served as Minister of State for External Affairs in the Government of India from May 2009 to April 2010.

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Malcolm Toon, A37, F39, H77
1916-2009; Distinguished diplomat and vocal supporter of high quality ambassadorship
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Tufts Degrees: B.A., History, 1933; M.A., Government, 1939; H.LL.D., Tufts University, 1977

Other Degrees: H.LL.D., Middlebury College; H.LL.D, Drexel University

Awards & Honors: Bronze Star for his service in World War II; Fellow, American Academy of Diplomacy

Biography: Ambassador Malcolm Toon was an American diplomat who firmly believed in the power and importance of the role of ambassadors in diplomacy.

Prior to Ambassador Toon's service in the State Department as foreign service officer, he served as lieutenant commander in the United States Naval Reserves in the World War II, receiving a Bronze Star for his service to the nation. Ambassador Toon's first post as diplomat was to the former Czechoslovakia in 1969, followed by ambassadorships in Yugoslavia (1971-1975), Israel (1975-1976) and the Soviet Union (1976-1979). During Ambassador Toon’s tenure in Israel, he served as Henry Kissinger's trusted communicator to the Israeli government during the Egyptian withdrawal from the Sinai in 1976. As ambassador to the former Soviet Union, ambassador Toon took part in the SALT II talks and the American-Soviet Summit in Vienna in 1979.

The ambassadorship to the Soviet Union was fulfillment of a life-long ambition of Toon. Even as serviceman in the Pacific during World War II, ambassador Toon recognized that the relations between the United States and the Soviet Union would be the linchpin of international relations and diplomacy in the years following the war. After his retirement, ambassador Toon was very vocal in his opinions regarding the role of ambassadors in diplomacy, supporting the appointments of high quality career ambassadors and eschewing political ambassadorial appointments. Ambassador Toon felt that ambassadorship should never be taken on as a "retirement position" and being that good ambassador required years of training and experience.

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