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Two programs honor presidential adviser Sandy Berger '67

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Rebecca Valli
Robin Zhang

College of Arts and Sciences student Robin Zhang ’18 has been named the inaugural Samuel R. Berger ’67 Intern at Albright Stonebridge Group (ASG), and the Samuel R. Berger National Leadership Scholars Fund will provide its inaugural scholarship aid this beginning fall.

An expert in international relations and diplomacy, the late Samuel “Sandy” Berger served as White House national security adviser to President Bill Clinton from 1997 to 2001 before serving as co-chair of the global strategy firm Albright Stonebridge Group along with former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Described by The New York Times as “the most influential national security adviser since Henry Kissinger,” Berger also served as White House deputy national security adviser (1993-1997) and as deputy director of policy planning at the State Department (1977-1980). Berger was a government major at Cornell. He died in 2015.

ASG helps businesses, financial institutions, associations and nongovernmental organizations navigate political, commercial and social environments around the world. It’s that tie between politics and business that intrigues Zhang the most.

“For a long time my career goal has been to join the Foreign Service,” said Zhang, a double major in China and Asia-Pacific studies and economics. “Recently, however, I've realized I want a few years of experience in the private sector before pursuing government work and/or grad school, and I think a place like ASG will be the ideal bridge.”

Zhang studied in Beijing during the spring semester and worked several days a week in the Foreign Commercial Service (FCS) office of the U.S. Embassy there.

“I really enjoyed the work [at FCS], which has many similarities with ASG’s,” Zhang said. “I think its unique appeal for me is that link between business and government – add in China to the mix, and it’s exactly what I’m looking for.”

Zhang said many ASG employees have experience in government, especially the Departments of State and Commerce – the two areas she is most interested in. She’ll be working with the firm’s China team.

“Sandy was as passionate about being a mentor as he was about the role of diplomacy in foreign policy,” said Dan K. Rosenthal, ASG’s managing principal.

Friends of Sandy Berger have established the Samuel R. Berger National Leadership Scholars Fund to provide financial aid for eligible students majoring in either government or history in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Notes Sarah Berger Sandelius ’99: “My family and I are deeply honored to have my dad remembered in such generous ways. By removing or reducing financial obligations, we’re hoping that students who have demonstrated interests in government/history, community engagement and service – all of his passions – will feel honored and encouraged to pursue careers in the public sector and, ultimately, to make a real difference in the world around us.”

Kathy Hovis is a writer for the College of Arts and Sciences.

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