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Diplomatic Corps

Alan Flurry

There are only a handful of titles a person can hold forever. “Ambassador” is one of them. Georgia Magazine features the five UGA alumni who have served as lead American diplomats abroad, including Franklin College alumna Lynne Tracy (AB '86), who was nominated this year by President Joe Biden to be the next ambassador to Russia:

Lynne Tracy AB ’86, the U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, credits her UGA education for putting her on a path to what is now a nearly 30-year career in the foreign service.

And it started with her first quarter on campus.

It was the fall of 1982, and the Cold War was still raging. Tracy enrolled in a survey history class taught by the late Professor Joe Barrigan. He made a comment during class that Tracy remembers to this day.

“We don’t have enough people who understand the Soviet Union,” he said.

From that point on, Tracy dedicated her college career to becoming one of those rare people. She majored in interdisciplinary studies, which allowed her to build a major from a variety of subjects. She mashed up courses in history, Russian language, political science, and geography, terming her major, “Soviet studies.”

“Even today, what is important for understanding Russia is demographics and geography,” she says. Tracy’s experience in the diplomatic corps, which has focused on central Asia and the former Soviet Union, allows her to draw on that long-held perspective daily.

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Image: Lynne Tracy. credit.

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