Winston Lord and Bette Bao Lord in Residence as Montgomery Fellows


Winston Lord, the former United States Ambassador to China, and his wife Bette Bao Lord, the internationally acclaimed, best-selling author, will be in residence at Dartmouth as Montgomery Fellows from May 7 to May 11.

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Winston Lord and Bette Bao Lord will be in residence at Dartmouth as Montgomery Fellows from May 7 to May 11. (Photo courtesy of Winston Lord and Bette Bao Lord)

Lord served as ambassador to China from 1985 to 1989 under Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. He was the Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs under President Clinton from 1993 to 1997. Lord will deliver a Montgomery Lecture entitled “Sweet and Sour: Sino-American Relations,” on Wednesday, May 9, at 4:30 p.m. in Filene Auditorium, located in Moore Hall.

Bette Bao Lord, who wrote the American Book Award nominee, Spring Moon, as well as the children’s book, In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, will participate in a public “conversation” with Associate Professor of English Melissa Zeiger on Thursday, May 10, at 4:30 p.m. in Filene Auditorium.

Ambassador Lord has played a central role in determining American foreign policy toward the Far East and in helping to restore U.S.-Chinese relations in the last half of the 20th century. While a member of the National Security Council planning staff in 1971, he accompanied then-National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger on his secret trip to China that paved the way for President Nixon’s historic visit and summit meeting with Mao Tse-tung the following year.

Lord returned to China with President Nixon in 1972 and again with President Ford in 1975, and in subsequent years served as the top policy advisor on China at the Department of State. He was also involved in the secret peace talks in Paris and Hanoi that ended the Vietnam War. Lord has been honored with the Defense Department’s Outstanding Performance Award and the State Department’s Distinguished Service Award.

“The Honorable Winston Lord is one of the most knowledgeable of American diplomats who have studied and experienced first-hand the development of Chinese politics, culture, and power from the 1960s to the present,” says Richard Stamelman, executive director of the Montgomery Endowment. “His presence on campus as a Montgomery Fellow will provide Dartmouth students with the invaluable if not rare opportunity to meet a man who has played a significant historical role in the evolution of Chinese-American relations.”

Author Bette Bao Lord was born in Shanghai and came to the United States at the age of eight. Her beloved In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson tells the story of a young Chinese girl’s struggle to learn English by listening to radio broadcasts of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Spring Moon, which spent 31 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list and was subsequently translated into 19 languages, is an epic romantic tale of the social, political, and familial changes a mandarin Chinese woman must face from her youth at the end of the nineteenth century to the Cultural Revolution in the late 1960s.

Legacies: A Chinese Mosaic, a memoir of stories set against the turbulent background of 20th century Chinese history up to Tiananmen Square, was chosen by Time magazine as one of the ten finest non-fiction works of 1990. A member of the International Women’s Hall of Fame and a recipient of the National Council of Women’s “Women of Honor Award,” Lord received the Eleanor Roosevelt Award for Human Rights from President Clinton in 1998.

“Bette Bao Lord’s prizewinning novels, translated into several languages, offer a compelling panorama of Chinese history from the late 19th century to the Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in a manner that sets the everyday lives and loves of her courageous and resilient characters against the background of tumultuous events,” says Stamelman, noting that Lord did not return to her homeland for 27 years after her family left Shanghai and settled in Brooklyn. “Ms. Lord’s deep knowledge of Chinese history and her impressive skills at making this history come alive through the stalwart characters she invents will make students aware of the powerful role of narrative in history and fiction.”

While at Dartmouth, Winston Lord is scheduled to join several classes, including government courses taught by Assistant Professor Jennifer Lind, Associate Professor Lisa Baldez, and John Wentworth Professor in the Social Sciences John Carey, as well as a history course taught by Associate Professor Edward Miller. Bette Bao Lord will join an English course taught by Associate Professor Melissa Zeiger.

Established in 1977, Dartmouth’s Kenneth and Harle Montgomery Endowment provides for “the advancement of the academic realm of the College” in ways that enhance the educational experience, in particular that are offered to undergraduate students.

Bonnie Barber