Thursday, May 1, 2014

Chillicothe Campus alumnus Julia Lyddon Gourley shares insights during talk in Learning Commons

Ross County Christian Academy students attended the talk
The speaker posed with students from Chillicothe High School

Ohio University-Chillicothe alumnus Julia Lyddon Gourley shared insights from her distinguished career in government and international affairs during a recent talk in a packed Stevenson Center Learning Commons. Approximately 115 individuals attended the talk. Included in the audience were students from Ross County Christian Academy and Chillicothe High School.

Gourley earned a bachelor’s degree in geography from Ohio University in 1984, and she has since embarked on a career on the national and international levels. She has held positions with the State Department and the Environmental Protection Agency.

Her main responsibilities include leading development of U.S. foreign policy in the Arctic region and representing the United States in the Arctic Council.

She is currently the Senior Arctic Official (SAO) of the United States and the U.S. representative to the Arctic Council, An intergovernmental forum of the eight Arctic countries.  In addition to the eight countries, six Arctic indigenous people’s organizations sit at the table and provide advice on all issues.

In her present position, she has worked for four secretaries of state.

“Public service is a high calling,” Gourley said in describing her 30-year career in the government.”

In staying true to the title of her talk, Gourley mentioned reasons in particular why U.S. citizens, including those in her hometown of Chillicothe, should care about, and are impacted by, Arctic affairs.

She noted that thousands of U.S. residents who live in the northern reaches of Alaska live above the Arctic Circle. These residents live in close proximity to Russia and can sometimes see the former Soviet Union state on a clear day, so there are international security concerns. Further, Arctic affairs impact the nation’s oil and gas reserves on Alaska’s North Slope.

Also, as she noted, the arctic region serves as an air conditioner for the rest of the nation, and weather conditions in that northern region reach the continental United States. For example, she pointed out that the melting of ice slabs in Greenland impact freshwater supplies in South Florida.

Gourley is a Distinguished Alumnus of OU-C and the 2014 recipient of the Rich Bebee Leadership Award.

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