Resolution of Tribute to Barry Zorthian
Tuesday, April 26th 2011
The Public Diplomacy Council pays tribute to the life and distinguished career of Barry Zorthian, a senior USIA Foreign Service officer in India in the early 1960s who later was the chief U.S. government spokesman in Saigon at the height of the Vietnam War. In retirement, Mr. Zorthian served as president of the Public Diplomacy Foundation of George Washington University, predecessor of this Council.
During the 1950s and early 1960s, Barry was news director, policy chief and program manager of the Voice of America. Under his dynamic leadership, there was a golden age of program innovation at the Voice, including the drafting of its Charter and creation of programs such as Press Conference USA and Special English, still on the air today.
After his retirement, Barry served from 1990 to 1994 on the Board for International Broadcasting, the oversight body for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. In the late 1990s, he became president of the Foundation for four years prior to serving on this Council’s Board in an active or emeritus role before his death late last year.
Barry, the consummate Foreign Service officer and international broadcast executive, best reflected a principle that encompassed his service in both roles. “If you have faith in the American concept and position,” he once said, “then you’ve got to believe that an objective picture serves the U.S. interest, simply because it is believable and portrays U.S. and world developments in balance.” We’ll never forget and always treasure Barry’s mastery of detail, his quick wit, his concern for colleagues in need, and his dedication to the best traditions of American diplomacy. Well done, good and honest friend --- servant of publics the world over and bright beacon of truth.
Drafted by PDC board member Alan Heil, adopted by the Public Diplomacy Council Board on April 20, 2011.