Dukakis Center hosts retired American diplomat Alec Mally
It was the summer of 1988. Alec Mally, a career foreign service officer, was completing a three-year stint as an economics officer at the US Embassy in Manila. A Sovietologist by inclination and training, with an interest in Eastern Europe, Mally was keen to land a spot on the far side of the Iron Curtain, having sensed that change was in the air in the countries of the Warsaw Pact. There was a spot due to open at the embassy in Bucharest if Mally so wished. Not among your more popular destinations, Mally nonetheless jumped at the opportunity.
After six months of country and language training in Washington, DC, Mally arrived in Romania shortly before the country's long-standing dictator, Nicolae Ceaucescu, was overthrown by a popular insurrection in December 1989, much to the surprise of the American intelligence community, which thought that the Romanian strongman would show more staying power than other communist leaders throughout Eastern Europe and the Balkans.
Mally was in Bucharest during the opening phases of the so-called Romanian Revolution, until instructed to help non-essential US personal and civilians to evacuate (Mally himself traveled to Poland, where he would later serve after his tour in Romania had come to an end.) When he returned to Bucharest a few weeks later, he was welcomed by bullet holes in the window of his apartment building, testimony to firefights within blocks of the American embassy between and armed revolutionaries the infamous Romanian secret police.
A gripping tale, when told by a master eye witness. Mr. Mally did not disappoint in an exclusive appearance on Friday, 19 February 2021, at the Dukakis Center for a Seminar Series talk to ACT students on his experience at the end of the Cold War. Mally also shared his experience working back in the State Department in the mid-1990s working on democratization and economic development in Southeast Europe, and particularly in Bosnia and Kosovo (where he ended his diplomatic career as the Deputy Chief of Mission at the Office in Pristina).
Learning in action, ACT's pedagogical mantra had yet again been realized in what one student called a "fabulously great class."
* About Alec Mally:
Alec Mally is currently Director for Global Economic Affairs at Foresight Strategy and Communications, an Athens-based consulting firm, Director at the Institute for Regional Dialogue and Strategy (IPEDIS) an Athens-based think tank, as well as adviser for the Repower Greece public diplomacy initiative (www.RepowerGreece.com). Mr. Mally has also been an international media commentator on Greek economic issues, including on Bloomberg TV, National Public Radio, and Fox News. He contributes regularly to the New Europe newspaper based in Brussels. He is a board member of the new firm Blue White Capital LLC, which invests in/advises on climate-friendly ventures and has served as Chair, Vice-Chair, and Treasurer of Democrats Abroad (Greece). Prior to moving back to Greece, Mally was a career U.S. Foreign Service Officer for 27 years, with a range of assignments in Balkan and global affairs. In Southeast Europe, he served as U.S. Consul General in Thessaloniki and Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Pristina, Kosovo. Stateside, he served as Economic Counselor at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York, as the State Department’s Senior Desk Officer for Greece and as Regional Economic Officer for Southeast Europe during the Bosnia war. He was also assigned to the Office of the Secretary of Defense at the Pentagon as Political-Military Adviser for the Balkans. Mr. Mally held prior postings in Bucharest, Warsaw, Athens, Manila, and the State Department Executive Secretariat.