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Black History Month Dinner Program - "The Life and Legacy of Ralph J. Bunche" co-hosted by ABAA, ACI, BPIA, DACOR and TLG

  • 02/15/2024
  • 6:30 PM - 9:00 PM
  • DACOR Bacon House - 1801 F St NW, Washington, DC 20006


*Pre-purchased ticket required to attend. 

Please note this is a hybrid event - you have the option to attend in person or virtually. Registrations are required for all attendees. For in-person attendees, the event will run from 6:30 - 9 pm and will include dinner. The live stream will begin at 8 pm (virtual attendees will be sent a link for the event via email). This event is co-hosted by the Association of Black American Ambassadors (ABAA) Ambassador Club (ACI) International Washington, DC Chapter, Black Professionals in International Affairs (BPIA), DACOR, and Thursday Luncheon Group (TLG).

Join ABAA, ACI, BPIA, DACOR and TLG for a conversation with Dr. Michael Krenn and James Dandridge on the significance of UN Undersecretary General Ralph J. Bunche's role for the establishment of the UN's global peacekeeping role and US Civil Rights activism.

Nowhere is Peace-Keeping mentioned in the UN Charter but thanks to Dr. Bunche, the UN has served its seminal role throughout global conflicts since its creation. Its maintenance of some semblance of global stability has been a major contribution in stabilizing international order in the face of global conflicts, thanks to Dr. Bunche. Krenn, a recognized diplomacy historian and Dandridge, a student in the late 40’s with indirect contact with Dr Bunche at Howard University during the latter part of his professorial tenancy and receipt of the Nobel Peace Prize and Dandridge’s latter Executive Director of the Ralph Bunche Centenary 2003-2004 will have a tour de force conversation on Ralph Bunche the international negotiator and the domestic Civil Rights Activist.

Michael L. Krenn is Professor of History at Appalachian State University. He received his Ph.D. from Rutgers University in 1985 where he studied with Lloyd Gardner. His books include The Color of Empire: Race and American Foreign Relations; Fall-Out Shelters for the Human Spirit: American Art and the Cold War; and The History of U.S. Cultural Diplomacy: From 1770 to the Present Day. His 1999 book, Black Diplomacy: African Americans and the State Department, 1945-1969, helped to inspire the documentary, The American Diplomat, which premiered on the PBS series American Experience in 2022.

James “Jim” Dandridge was born in Birmingham, Alabama in 1932, and grew up in Bessemer, Selma, and Mobile, Alabama. He received his BA at Howard University and his MA at Georgetown University in Washington, DC.

Colonel James Dandridge, a pioneer US Army Special Operations officer, retired in 1978 as a Special Operations branch chief in the Organization of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (Pentagon). Dandridge was one of the first to wear the US Army green beret as a staff officer of the US Army Special Warfare Center, under the command of Brigadier General William Yarborough, when President John F. Kennedy visited and authorized its wear in 1961. His military assignments abroad include Korea, Vietnam, and several Latin American countries. He was awarded several combat decorations and specialty badges, including the US Army Parachute Badge and two foreign military parachute badges. He also was licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration as a commercial multi-engine pilot.

After his military career, Jim Dandridge entered the career Foreign Service, retiring as a senior foreign service officer with a personal grade of minister counselor. His final diplomatic assignments were director of the Office of Policy Guidance in the United States Information Agency (USIA) and a detailed assignment to the State Department as a senior advisor to the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs. His diplomatic assignments abroad included Bombay, India; Sao Paulo, Brazil; La Paz, Bolivia; and Santiago, Chile. As the designated chargé d’affaires, ad interim, during postings to Embassy La Paz and Embassy Santiago, he temporarily headed the diplomatic missions in the absence of a US ambassador.

Jim Dandridge entered a special program for foreign service annuitants as a senior inspector with the Department of State’s Office of Inspector General. His assignments were inspection team leader, deputy inspection team leader, and inspection compliance officer for 53 inspections in 21 countries and seven domestic offices. He also participated in the foreign affairs community as chairman of the Association for Diplomacy Studies and Training board of directors (ADST), Washington International Foreign Affairs board of directors (WIFA), Vice-Chair of the Diplomacy Center Foundation board of directors (DCF), and DACOR president. Jim was the 2008 recipient of the US Department of State Director General’s Cup for the Foreign Service for his unceasing promotion of the Foreign Service both as a US diplomat and in retirement.

Jim studied under professor Alaine Locke, friend and mentor of Dr. Ralph J. Bunche at Howard University in the late 40's and early 50's, the last years of Ralph Bunche's tenure during his transition to the United Nations. Jim has published articles and participated on panels, classroom lectures and in podcasts at Harvard, UCLA, CUNY Graduate Center, classes at Appalachian State University and published twice in the Foreign Service Journal.

Jim was the Washington executive director of the Ralph J. Bunche Centenary, 2003-2004, celebrating the life and legacy of Dr. Bunche that led to then Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Joseph Biden’s introduction and Senate passage of SR 82, recognizing the life and legacy of Dr. Bunche. The Resolution was prepared by then Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff director Antony Blinken and presented by Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Joseph Biden. Congressional Representative Charles Rangel replicated it in The House of Representatives, thus constituting a Congressional Joint Resolution in recognition of Ralph J. Bunche’s life and legacy.

BPIA membership is open to all applicants who support our mission and goals without regard to race, religion/creed, ethnicity, national origin, gender, sexual preference or identity.

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