Transfer of the Panama Canal

On December 31, 1999, the United States will transfer control of the Panama Canal, which links the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, back to the Republic of Panama.

In commemoration of the historic transfer, Williams College will be holding a symposium, Transferring The Canal: Passage to a New Millenium, on October 21 at 8 p.m. in Thompson Memorial Chapel. The occasion is also marked by an exhibit at the Williams College Museum of Art entitled “The Panama Canal and the Art of Construction.” The exhibit will run through Jan. 23, 2000.

The symposium boasts a distinguished panel of major figures involved in Panama over the years. Former Vice-President Walter Mondale, who was involved in the Carter administration’s negotiations with Panama 20 years ago, will be one of the speakers. President Ernesto Perez Balladares of Panama has also agreed to be on the panel as have Howard Baker, former Senator Majority Leader (R-TN) and a key Republican supporter of Senate ratification of the treaties and Sol Linowitz, Former Ambassador to the Organization of American States and co-negotiator of the Panama Canal Treaties.

In addition, Jack Vaughn, Ambassador to Panama in the 1960s, and Director of the Peace Corps, will participate. David McCullough, host of “American Experience” and whose book Path Between the Seas: the Creation of the Panama Canal, 1870-1914 is an authoritative history of the construction of the canal, will be a panelist, as will Jose Miguel Aleman, current Foreign Minister of the Republic of Panama.

The moderator will be Jim Mahon, Williams College Professor of Political Science and Latin Americanist.The symposium will be covered by news groups from around the world, including C-Span.

The symposium is sponsored by the Williams Program in Leadership Studies. Please contact Merritt Colaizzi, Leadership Programs Coordinator, at (413)597-2545 for more information on the symposium.

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