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King University News :: Former U.S. Ambassador to Poland to Speak at Bristol Public Library March 6

BRISTOL, Tenn., February 26, 2014– Former ambassador to Poland and mayor of Knoxville Victor Ashe will speak at the Bristol Public Library on Thursday, March 6, as part of the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies’ lecture series. Co-sponsored by the King Security and Intelligence Studies Group, Ashe’s lecture will focus on the timely topic of “Russian Foreign Policy in Eastern Europe.”

“The current troubling events in Ukraine have reignited the broader discussion about Russian foreign policy in Eastern Europe,” says Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis, director of the King Institute for Security and Intelligence Studies and assistant professor of Political Science for King. “Russia lost control of much of its sphere of influence following the implosion of the Soviet Union. Is it trying and will it be able to reclaim it? Who better to address this critical question than Victor Ashe, America’s longest-serving ambassador to Poland, a country which, like Ukraine, is at the center of the geopolitical struggle being played out before our very eyes in Eastern Europe.”

“This will be my first visit to King University; I am very excited about being there,” says Ashe. “With all that is going on in the Ukraine today, my topic will be even more relevant. The world is a lot smaller than it was 30 years ago. What is happening on other continents is almost in our front yard.”

Victor Ashe was elected at age 23, in 1968, to the Tennessee House of Representatives from Knoxville; he served six years prior to being elected State Senator in 1975 where he served nine years. As a lawmaker, he sponsored Tennessee's presidential primary law, scenic routes act, and Natural Areas Preservation Act.

Ashe was appointed executive director of the Americans Outdoors Commission in 1985 chaired by then Governor Lamar Alexander.

In 1987, Ashe was elected mayor of Knoxville, Tenn., where he became the longest serving mayor in the city's history, serving 16 years. He pushed expansion of the city parks and greenways, and also put the city finances on a sound foundation. He was also elected president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Tennessee Municipal League.

In 2004, he was appointed by President George W. Bush to serve as Ambassador to Poland where Ashe served five years - from June 2004 to Oct. 2009. Ashe was the longest-serving United States Ambassador to Poland in the country’s history of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

In 2010, Ashe was appointed by President Obama to the Broadcasting Board of Governors on which he served three years. The board oversees U.S. international broadcasting including Voice of America and Radio Free Asia, Radio Free Europe, and Cuba Broadcasting.

Ashe earned his Bachelor of Arts from Yale University in 1967 and his law degree from the University of Tennessee College of Law in 1974.

Victor Ashe will present “Russian Foreign Policy in Eastern Europe” at the Bristol Public Library on Thursday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For additional information, contact Dr. Joseph Fitsanakis at 423.652.6014 or or Doris Stickely at 276.821.6148 or


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