Troy University Ambassador-in-Residence Jack Matlock to speak to Alabama World Affairs Council

Jack Matlock, front left, shown at the table with President Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and others during the Geneva Summit in November 1985.

Jack Matlock, front left, shown at the table with President Ronald Reagan, Mikhail Gorbachev and others during the Geneva Summit in November 1985.

Dr. Jack Matlock, former ambassador to the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia, will serve as Troy University’s Ambassador-in-Residence later this month, kicking off his visit with a presentation to the Alabama World Affairs Council on Jan. 23.

Matlock was originally scheduled to visit in September, but the trip was postponed due to travel issues following Hurricane Irma.

Matlock will address the Alabama World Affairs Council during a presentation on U.S.-Russia relations on Jan. 23 at TROY’s Montgomery Campus. The event, which will take place in the Gold Room in Whitley Hall, will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by Matlock’s presentation. The presentation is free to members of the Alabama World Affairs Council and $20 to guests. To register for the event, visit alwac.org/events or contact Dahdee Bullen at dahdeekb@yahoo.com (334-567-0953).

During his 35 years in the American Foreign Service (1956-1991), Matlock served as Ambassador to the Soviet Union from 1987 to 1991, Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for European and Soviet Affairs on the National Security Council Staff from 1983 until 1986, and Ambassador to Czechoslovakia from 1981 to 1983. Since August 2015, Matlock has been a visiting scholar and Rubenstein Fellow at Duke University.

“Ambassador Matlock has been in the driver’s seat of history from the Cuban Missile Crisis to the fall of the Soviet Union,” said Dr. Michael Slobodchikoff, assistant professor and chair of political science. “He has had a hand in successfully bringing about the resolution of the Cold War and the start of the post-Cold War period. His unique experiences provide indelible perspective to understand the current state of international relations.”

Dr. G. Doug Davis, associate professor and director of the Master of Science in International Relations program, said Ambassador Matlock’s visit is a timely one given the current state of U.S.-Russia relations.

“Given the current state of tensions between the West and Russia, Ambassador Matlock’s presence provides an invaluable contribution to the University and the wider community,” Davis said.
During his visit, Matlock also will speak during a public presentation on the Troy Campus, as well as speaking to classes and meeting with undergraduate and graduate level international relations students.

Before his appointment to Moscow as Ambassador, Matlock served three tours at the American Embassy in the Soviet Union between 1961 and 1981. His other Foreign Service assignments were in Vienna, Munich, Accra, Zanzibar and Dar es Salaam, in addition to tours in Washington as director of Soviet Affairs in the State Department (1971-74) and as deputy director of the Foreign Service Institute (1979-80). Before entering the Foreign Service, Matlock was instructor in Russian language and literature at Dartmouth College (1953-56). During the 1978-79 academic year, he was visiting professor of political science at Vanderbilt University.

Since his retirement from the Foreign Service in 1991, he has held academic posts at Columbia University, Princeton University, Hamilton College, Mt. Holyoke College and the Institute for Advanced Study, where he was George F. Kennan Professor from 1996 to 2001.

He is the author of “Superpower Illusions: How Myths and False Ideologies Led America Astray — and How to Return to Reality” (Yale University Press, 2010); “Reagan and Gorbachev: How the Cold War Ended” (Random House, 2004, paperback edition 2005); “Autopsy on an Empire: The American Ambassador’s Account of the Collapse of the Soviet Union” (Random House, 1995); “Leskov into English: On Translating Соборяне (Church Folks)” (Columbia University, 2013); and a handbook to the 13-volume Russian edition of “Stalin’s Collected Works” (Washington, D.C. 1955, 2nd edition, New York, 1971).

In addition to the books, Matlock maintains a blog at www.JackMatlock.com and is the author of numerous articles on foreign policy, international relations, and Russian literature and history.

Matlock was educated at Duke University (AB, summa cum laude, 1950) and at Columbia University (MA and Certificate of the Russian Institute, 1952, PhD, 2013). He has been awarded honorary doctorates by four institutions including the Latvian Academy of Sciences.