Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service

Project Prologue

Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassadors Visits

Ambassadors who visited Utah during the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassadors Visits Program His Excellency Raul Enrique Granillo Ocampo, Ambassador to the United States for Argentina – Jan. 2-12, 1996 His Excellency Adriaan Jacobovits de Szeged, Ambassador to the United States for Netherlands – Feb.  26-27, 1996 His Excellency Le Van Bang, Ambassador to the United States for the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – Feb. 27-28, 1996 His Excellency Stephen Kapimpina Katenta-Apuli, Ambassador to the United States for the Republic of Uganda – March 4-6, 1996 His Excellency S. Nathan, Ambassador to the United States for the Republic of Singapore – March 18-20, 1996 His Excellency Li Daoyu, Ambassador to the United States for the People’s Republic of China – March 20-22, 1996 His Excellency Einar Benediktsson, Ambassador to the United States for Iceland – April 12-13, 1995 His Excellency Nüzhet Kandemir, Ambassador to the United States for the Republic of Turkey – April 30-May 1, 1996 His Excellency Knud Erik Tygesen, Ambassador to the United States for Denmark – May 6-8, 1996 His Excellency Dermot A. Gallagher, Ambassador to the United States for Ireland – May 9-10, 1996 His Excellency L. John Wood, Ambassador to the United States for New Zealand (more…)


Ambassador’s Experiences

Ambassador’s Experiences There were a lot of interesting and fun experiences while hosting the ambassadors. For example, the committee tried getting the Swedish ambassador to come to Utah three times and was turned down each time because of his busy schedule. Dr. Peterson recalls that someone passed along a suggestion to get the Swedish ambassador to come. He suggested that Dr. Peterson invite the Baltic ambassadors to visit as a group. He felt that the Swedish Ambassador wouldn’t miss the opportunity of coming if the other Baltic ambassadors were here.  Dr. Peterson contacted them and suggested that they come together as a group.  The four ambassadors came to Utah together. The closing event for the Baltic ambassadors was a dinner and performance by the BYU Ballroom Dance Company under the rotunda at the State Capital Building. President Thomas S. Monson, First Counselor, and President James E. Faust, Second Counselor, in The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints attended. Also as part of their visit, the ambassadors learned that Neil Diamond was in concert in Salt Lake City and someone was able to get them tickets to go to the concert.  They all got good seats and had (more…)


Ambassadors’ Interest in Utah

Ambassadors’ Interest in Utah The Utah Ambassador Visits Program, which still operates today, was established by Governor Michael Leavitt as part of Utah’s 1996 Statehood Centennial Celebration. Stephen “Steve” M. Studdert was the chairman of the Utah Statehood Centennial Comission. Having served as an advisor to three U.S.  presidents, Steve felt the statehood centennial celebration was a golden opportunity to showcase Utah to foreign ambassadors posted in the United States. Steve selected Sterling Provost to serve as the chair of the Ambassador Visits Program, and he also included Dr. Erlend D. Peterson to serve on the committee.  Later Dr. Peterson took over chairmanship of the program, and he has continued the chairmanship of the program over the years—even though the Utah Statehood Centennial Commission concluded its service at the end of the centennial year. Steve Studdert and Erlend Peterson became acquainted in 1990, soon after Dr. Peterson was appointed Dean of Admissions and Records at Brigham Young University (BYU). That acquaintance was a forerunner to the centennial Ambassador Visits Program.  Dr. Peterson invited the Norwegian ambassador to visit Utah and to lecture at BYU. Three weeks after the invitation to the Norwegian ambassador was extended, Studdert was in Utah and (more…)


Forerunners to the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program

Other forerunners to the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program: Franz Kolb and Dale Ensign Although the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program was established in 1995 for the 1996 statehood centennial year, there were several people who had blazed the trail and thus contributed to the success of the program. One person was Franz Kolb who worked for the Utah Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED). Born in Austria, Kolb did a lot of the international hosting for GOED. At that time, there was international interest in the IT development in Utah. When ambassadors came to Utah with their trade representatives to visit IT companies, particularly Word Perfect and Novel, Kolb would often call Dr. Erland Peterson of Brigham Young University and ask if the visiting ambassador could tour the university campus.  Dr. Peterson would arrange the visit and the ambassador would have lunch with faculty and students from his home country, visit with the BYU President, and give a lecture at the David M. Kennedy Center for International Studies. Kolb’s work contributed to the design of the Ambassador Visits Program. GOED was a major partner in the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program and continues to be an important (more…)


Developing a Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program

Developing a Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program with a Limited Budget Like many state initiatives, a charge or mandate is often accompanied by a limited budget. In order to develop the ambassador portion of the centennial celebration, a committee was selected, and Sterling Provost, who had been Associate Commissioner of Higher Education of the State of Utah, was asked to chair the committee.  There was a large advisory committee and a smaller operating committee. All members of the committee were volunteers.  The committee met once a week in the GOED conference room.  The first challenge was determining how to run the program without a budget—air transportation, hotel lodging, meals, and ground transportation. Steve Studdert and Sterling Provost met with Fred Rollins, the District Manager of Delta Air Lines.  Studdert asked Rollins if Delta Air Lines would provide first class airfare for the ambassadors. Rollins said that since it was a centennial statehood celebration, he would provide 100 airline tickets. The next concern was lodging. Studdert approached Ken Knight, who was one of Sinclair’s top executives and responsible for the Little America Hotel. Knight said he would provide lodging for the ambassadors in the Little America Hotel without a charge. In (more…)


Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program Itinerary

Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassador Visits Program Itinerary The ambassador visits itinerary was designed for a two-day/one night visit. The ambassador would fly out of Washington D.C. on the 7:00 a.m. Delta Air Lines flight and arrive in Salt Lake City at around 10:30 a.m. Before the days of TSA, the greeting party would meet the ambassador at the gate and have them go to a waiting car. The invitation to each ambassador was signed by Governor Michael O. Leavitt; Orrin G.  Hatch and Robert F. Bennett, United States senators for Utah; and Stephen M. Studdert, Utah Centennial Chairman. Therefore, the first priority on the itinerary was for the ambassador to meet with Governor Leavitt. Governor Leavitt agreed to leave his 11 o’clock hour flexible for ambassador visits. Committee member Dr. Erland Peterson would call Governor Leavitt’s scheduler when an ambassador had confirmed the dates of travel to Utah and arrange the meeting. The second priority was to have the ambassador speak at a luncheon. Community service organizations such as the Lions Club, Kiwanis, or the Chamber of Commerce frequently invited the ambassador to be their guest and to speak. The third priority was to focus on the business community. The (more…)


Utah Ambassadors Visit Program

Utah Ambassadors Visit Program In October 1996, Dr. Peterson attended a dedication service for the Mt. Timpanogos temple dedication where President James E. Faust talked about the success of the ambassador program. He thought it was in partial to fulfillment of Isaiah 2 and 3. Dr. Peterson was impressed with President Faust’s comments. The following day Dr. Peterson was visiting with President Merrill J. Bateman, President of Brigham Young University. He summarized what President Faust said and then asked President Bateman if BYU would like to pick up the baton at the end of the Utah statehood centennial year. He noted he had worked as a volunteer for the Utah Statehood Centennial Ambassadors Visit Program Committee and he could continue the same role if the other partners were interested and if BYU would provide a basic budget.  President Bateman told Dr. Peterson to give him a proposal for the program and for the budget. Delta Air Lines said they would give complimentary upgrades to ambassadors flying out of Washington, D.C.  if BYU paid the full coach seat price. BYU received a 50% discount at Little America Hotel. Governor Leavitt said he would be willing to let the Governor’s Protective Service (more…)


Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics and Public Service