Former Ambassador Adelman's Chautauqua Lecture Topic: "Reagan at Reykjavik"

Adelman photo

In his highly acclaimed book, “Reagan at Reykjavik: Forty-Eight Hours That Ended the Cold War,” Kenneth Adelman offered insights into the leadership of President Ronald Reagan, especially his strategy for winning the Cold War.

He will do the same when he delivers a Chautauqua lecture at Eastern Kentucky University on Thursday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 p.m. in Brock Auditorium (a change from the previously announced venue). The lecture, entitled “Reagan at Reykjavik: A Case Study in Strategizing,” is part of the University’s week-long inaugural celebration for President Michael Benson and serves as the 10th annual Distinguished Lecture in International Studies. It is free and open to the public.

Adelman does not write or speak as an outsider to the events in Iceland. He was director of the U.S. Arms Control Agency for Reagan during the 1986 Reykjavik summit, and accompanied Reagan at three superpower summits. He also served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations and assistant to the U.S. Secretary of Defense.

In his multi-media presentation at EKU, Adelman will describe the 1986 summit in a “you-are-there” manner with the aid of photos, video and mementoes. “With both men at the height of their power, they had the rare opportunity to move toward peace and disarmament, which led to positive outcomes neither ever anticipated,” Adelman said. “While the leaders failed to reach a final agreement that weekend, their negotiations led to the most sweeping nuclear arms accord in history the following year, and the collapse of the Soviet Union half a decade later.”

Adelman is executive producer of a feature film, “Reykjavik,” which stars Michael Douglas as Reagan and Christoph Waltz as Mikhail Gorbachev. After his government service, he taught Shakespeare at Georgetown University and George Washington University, and National Security Studies at those two universities and Johns Hopkins University. He also served as national editor of Washingtonian magazine for more than 17 years.

Adelman earned his bachelor’s degree in religion from Grinnell College, and a master’s degree in Foreign Service Studies and doctoral degree in Political Theory from Georgetown University.

The Adelman Chautauqua lecture is sponsored by The Office of the President, the Inauguration Committee, the Office of Student Life, the Center for International Education, the Department of Government and the Honors Program.

In addition to his Chautauqua lecture, Adelman will speak on “The Joys and Risks of Collecting African Art” on Wednesday, Oct. 22, at 6 p.m. in the Campbell Building. The talk is framed by a reception for Adelman from 5 to 7 p.m. Adelman recently donated a significant collection of African art from Zaire and the Congo area to Eastern, and the exhibit is open to the public at the University’s Giles Gallery through Oct. 23. (For Gallery hours, call 859-622-8135.)

 For more information about the 2014-15 Chautauqua series on “Strategizing,” visit or contact Chautauqua Lecture Coordinator Dr. Minh Nguyen at

Published on October 07, 2014

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