Photo: © FAO/Alessia PiedromenicoAffirming UN Outreach

Thank you for the interesting article in the spring edition about Juan Lubroth '79 (pictured), chief veterinary officer of the United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). It struck a chord with me, for I believe I may be one of the few other Whitman graduates to make the circuitous journey from Walla Walla to a career as an international civil servant in the United Nations. One does not ordinarily think of going to school in Walla Walla and then spending one's life living and working in developing countries in the service of international development.

Lubroth graduated from Whitman 19 years after me, and as a result, our paths did not cross. If we had been closer in age, we would likely have met. My career was spent mostly with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), in the course of which I worked extensively with the FAO and held posts in 10 African countries. As I rose through the ranks of the UNDP, I always advocated for the kinds of development programs that were the specialty of the FAO—development of the rural economies as the essential jumping-off point for broader economic and social development in Africa.

I finished my career at a senior level, in charge of U.N. operations in two African countries, with FAO representatives as key members of my "country team." I also had occasion to visit FAO headquarters in Rome numerous times.

It was a privilege to have had such a career, and I am eternally grateful to Whitman for setting me on the path of curiosity about the world that ultimately led me in that direction. I'm sure it would have been a pleasure to have met my fellow Whittie Juan Lubroth, had our paths crossed.

Gary E. Davis '60, Monterey, California

Validating Strategic Planning

I read "Strategic Planning Process Moves Forward," in the winter 2017 edition, with interest. I spent a great deal of my career specializing in strategic planning and budgeting for the federal and several local governments. Now retired, I miss its apparent absence in government planning and official briefings.

I have two sons who graduated from Whitman, Jack Horner, Jr. '88, a philosophy major, and Matthew Horner '92, a history major; both went on to work and study overseas and are now in business and government positions, respectively. They and I value the education they got in Walla Walla. Moreover, both got a worldview that not only helped them in their careers but also made them appreciate the impact that the many factors that influence the ever-changing conditions of the 21st century bring to bear on world and national events.

Those factors—and keeping them in mind as one looks at the future—are the heart and soul of strategic planning. That Whitman is seeing to it that at least one education institution is putting this process into practice is heartening. And, given the current political climate, it can be one of the sources capable of breaking the dam of ignorance and intransigence that have disabled, in my view, the "American Dream." We are still a major player in the world, but until we can think strategically about public policy, we are in jeopardy of not only losing our place but also becoming a retrograde society.

Jack M. Horner, Portland, Oregon

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Whitman Magazine welcomes comments from readers. We reserve the right to edit for grammar, length, clarity, accuracy and civility. Send letters to Daniel Le Ray, managing editor, at leraydf@whitman.edu or by mail c/o Office of Communications, Whitman College, Boyer Ave., Walla Walla, WA 99362. We regret that we cannot publish all messages.