Gene Bigler Ph D

Raymond ‘67


I actually graduated from Raymond College, but the few classes I had in Covell and the many friends and values I shared with you covelianos had more impact on what I wanted to accomplish in life and with whom I preferred to live and work. When I left Pacific, instead of the Woodrow Wilson Fellowship at Yale, I took a Fulbright Scholarship and went to Guayaquil to study economics and diplomacy. Karoline and I were married there and many years later we adopted our only child (now 18) in Peru.

Anxious as I was to continue my graduate work when we left Ecuador, our beloved Dean, Elliott J. Taylor, convinced me to spend a year first recruiting students for the cluster colleges. Then it was off to Washington, DC, to the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins. In 1973, I went to Venezuela to write my dissertation, but when I was invited to join the faculty of the Instituto de Estudios Superiores de Administracion (IESA), we were so pleased that we stayed in Caracas for five more years and continued collaborating with IESA even after I became a liberal arts prof at Hendrix College in Arkansas..

In 1984 I left academe to join the United States Information Agency where I got to do public opinion and program research in ten countries of Latin America. In 1988, I joined the US Foreign Service and went to Lima as Press Attaché. In 1992, we moved to Havana, where I was the public affairs officer until 1995. I was the press attaché in Rome and then counselor for economic and political affairs in Panama, 2000-03. My last post in the Department of State was as a Director of the Bureau of Democracy and Human Rights.

In 2005, I returned to Pacific as a visiting professor-practitioner of international relations. I helped design the Inter-American Program and get Casa Covell started and have been teaching Latin American politics, the Latino-US Connection and related courses. Early in my career, I wrote several books, including a couple on Venezuela, and dozens of articles, but regaining my muse has been a challenge. I recently had an article published on the U.S. role in support of democracy in Latin America, and now I am working on what I hope will be my magnum opus. Tentatively, I entitle it Prosperity in the Americas. It is an effort to show how the evolution of U.S. relations with Panama from coercive and exploitative to cooperative and mutually beneficial (true inter-Americanism) provides a model for the well being of our Hemisphere.