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New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson to Speak at UMaine Oct. 7

Contact: Media contact: Joe Carr at (207) 581-3571

ORONO– New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson will visit the University of Maine on Tuesday, Oct. 7 to deliver the first installment in the Governor’s Distinguished Lecture Series, a collaborative effort of UMaine and the Maine governor’s office. For its inaugural presentation, the lecture series committee selected Richardson, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and former U.S. Secretary of Energy. He will deliver a talk entitled  “The United Nations, Iraq and the United States: Meeting the Challenge, Sharing the Burden” at 1 p.m. at the Maine Center for the Arts.   Governor John E. Baldacci, who served with Richardson in the U.S. Congress, will introduce Richardson at the Oct. 7 lecture.

“We intend for this to be an annual event, taking place in UMaine’s fall semester,” Baldacci says.  “Each year we will invite a governor or former governor who has expertise in international policy and politics.”

Admission to the lecture will be free and it will be open to the public with no advance ticketing required.  Seating will be limited, so members of the public who plan to attend are encouraged to arrive early.  Doors will open at noon.

Richardson is in high demand for speaking appearances around the U.S.  His unique background and expertise qualify him to present relevant and informed talks on a variety of issues related to domestic and foreign policy. 

“We look forward to Gov. Richardson’s visit with great anticipation,” says UMaine President Peter Hoff.  “He is a public official of the highest stature and I am certain that his talk that will provoke serious thought and discourse about important issues.  This is the type of opportunity that we strive to provide to members of the UMaine community and citizens of the state.”

“At the U.N., Richardson addressed numerous difficult international negotiating challenges and crises including Iraq,   Zaire, and Afghanistan, says UMaine Prof. Bahman Baktiari, chair of the lecture series committee and director of UMaine’s International Affairs Program. “Because of this work, he has been nominated four times for the Nobel Peace Prize.”

Richardson, who is serving his first term as governor of New Mexico, represented that state in Congress from 1983 to 1997.  He was served in the U.N. post from 1997 to 1998  and was Energy Secretary under President Bill Clinton from 1998 to 2001. Richardson was recently named chair of the 2004 Democratic National Convention, which will be held in Boston.

“Whether it’s 2008 or 2012 or further down the road, you have a limited number of national Democratic figures who you can imagine as serious contenders for presidential nomination or just simply as major national spokesmen,” Norman Ornstein, an expert on politics and the presidency, told the Associated Press. “[Richardson] clearly fits into those categories.”

Note: Richardson and Baldacci will be available to reporters at a news conference immediately following the lecture.  It will be held in the Bodwell Area of the Maine Center for the Arts.

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