Constance Morella on the Marshall Plan, OECD Today: ‘Connections are important’

| October 15, 2014
Constance Morella at Webster

Constance Morella delivered several talks during her week on campus as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, a program offered through the Council of Independent Colleges.

Ambassador Constance A. Morella delivered a speech as part of the Contemporary Conversations for a Connected World Speaker series Tuesday night at Webster University. During her presentation, she discussed her role as ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and why she believes the 66-year-old organization is still relevant in today’s world.

Morella is on Webster’s home campus this week as a Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow, a program offered through the Council of Independent Colleges.

Morella at Contemporary Conversations for a Connected World

Provost Schuster and President Stroble welcomed Morella for discussion of the OECD as part of the Contemporary Conversations for a Connected World series.

President Elizabeth (Beth) J. Stroble welcomed the audience to the lecture. She was followed by Provost Julian Schuster who said that visiting speakers help augment the educational experience for students.

“We hope that our students learn from our speakers and aspire to be like them,” Schuster said.

Morella said she is impressed with Webster University and its students.

“Your University has everything,” Morella said. “There is an animation program here, an amazing chess team, and countless other programs for students.”

History of the OECD, Lessons from Time in Congress

She then explained the history of the OECD, explaining that it was created by George Marshall after the end of WWII to help rebuild Europe.

“He didn’t say we will give you money and tell you how to spend it,” Morella said. “Rather, he said we will give you help and money and you tell us what you need the most. By 1948, we gave 2 percent of our gross national product to rebuild Europe. As a result, Europe and America became inextricably linked.”

Students at Morella talk

After her prepared remarks, Morella fielded questions from the audience of students, faculty and staff.

Today, the OECD has 34 members nations and works to “even the playing field,” she said, by requiring rules that make the economic rules the same for all the members.

For example, the OECD supports anti-bribery laws, more transparency among corporate governance, and also conducts studies on numerous subjects, such as the quality of education and health among the members. Ultimately, the OECD is about supporting compromise and diplomacy among the members, she said.

“Connections are important,” Morella said. “You respect people and listen to them. Our Congress could learn a lot from that.”

After her speech, she took questions from the audience, where she discussed her time as a member of Congress, a topic that she discussed more in depth during Wednesday evening’s lecture on “Mending the Broken Branch of Government” as part of the Holden Public Policy Forum. Earlier Tuesday, Morella also delivered a lecture for the International Symposium Series.

About Constance Morella

Morella served as Ambassador to the OECD from 2003 until 2007.  She is the first United States Ambassador to the OECD ever to have served in the United States Congress.

Morella represented Maryland’s 8th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987 until 2003, where she developed a national reputation as a leading advocate for women, children, and families. Previously, she served in the Maryland House of Delegates and is the only woman member of the Maryland General Assembly to be elected to the U.S. Congress.

She has received numerous awards and recognitions including induction into the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame, outstanding public service awards from the American Medical Association, the American Bar Association, and the Hubert H. Humphrey Civil Rights Award from the Leadership  Conference on Civil Rights “for selfless and devoted service in the cause of equality.” The Republic of Italy awarded her the Medal of the Legion of Merit.

She is a member of the Comptroller General’s Advisory Board, U.S. Government Accountability Office, and the Cafritz Foundation Advisory Board. She is vice-chair of the Franklin Center for Global Policy Exchange and serves on the Board of Directors of the Institute for Representative Government and the Washington Institute of Foreign Affairs. She is treasurer of the Association of Former Members of Congress. Ambassador Morella was appointed by President Obama in 2010 to the American Battle Monuments Commission.

Prior to her service in the U.S. Congress and the Maryland House of Delegates, Ambassador Morella was a professor of English at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland from 1970 until 1985.  In 2008, she was a resident fellow at Harvard University’s Kennedy School Institute of Politics. In 2009, she was appointed Ambassador in Residence at American University School of Public Affairs where she teaches “Women, Politics, and Public Policy.”

Morella holds a bachelor’s from Boston University, a master’s from American University and 12 honorary degrees.

Along with her husband, Anthony, American University professor of law emeritus, Ambassador Morella has raised nine children, including her late sister’s six children.

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Category: Campus Snapshots, St. Louis Campus News

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