ambassadORR|TALKS is the premier destination to connect established diplomats and professionals in the global arena with students interested in the world around them. With an emphasis on personal interaction, our program is built around exclusive video conferences between our esteemed guests and our valued members.
ambassadORR|TALKS aims to connect young students with established professionals to foster the next generation of global leaders.
Ambassador Robert Orr, or Skipp, as he was affectionately called by his friends, lived his life for one purpose — to connect with and help people. Indeed, he was never hesitant to attribute his own great achievements to the mentors that embraced him. Moreover, Skipp was the kind of person who always jumped at the opportunity to help someone.
This program started when a handful of Skipp’s former students connected with him through video conferences during the early stages of the 2020 COVID pandemic. Quickly, Skipp saw the potential to emulate what his own mentors did for him — pass the torch to the next generation.
And so, Skipp enthusiastically invited his friends to these meetings so that they could share their experiences and advice. During a time that forced the world to isolate, this group came together with a common goal: to develop meaningful connections with established leaders in the context of international relations. While
the world was locked at home, Skipp helped bring these students together with his fellow ambassadors, upper level diplomats, and premiere influencers in domestic and international political circles.
Unfortunately, Skipp passed away in August, 2021. While devastated by this loss, the group came to realize that the best way to honor him would be to continue his legacy. And so, the current iteration of ambassadORR|TALKS seeks to connect students and recent graduates with esteemed professionals eager to help pass on the torch to our future leaders.
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Meet Our Namesake
Ambassador Robert “Skipp” Orr
Robert Orr was confirmed by the Senate as United States Ambassador to the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in September 2010. In July 2013 he became Dean of the Board of the ADB, first American so elected in history. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the ADB until 2016. From 2007-2010 he was Chairman of the Board of the Panasonic Foundation and concurrently Vice Chair of the National Association of Japan-America Societies.
On November 3, 2018, the Government of Japan formally announced that the Imperial Household will confer the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold Rays with Rosette on Ambassador Orr. The ceremony took place on June 4, 2019 at the residence of the Japanese Ambassador to the United States.
From January 2002 until March 2007 Dr. Orr was President of Boeing Japan holding that position during the development of the most successfully selling airplane in history, the 787 Dreamliner, 35% of which is made in Japan. Prior to joining Boeing, Ambassador Orr was Vice President and Director of European Affairs for Motorola based in Brussels. And before that he held various senior level posts with Motorola in Japan culminating as Vice President of Government Relations. In that capacity he successfully led the negotiations that opened up the cellular phone market in Japan.
In addition to the corporate world and government, the Ambassador has also spent many years in academia. Between 1985 and 1993 he was a professor of Political Science at Temple University in Japan with two years off to run the Kyoto Center for Japanese Studies and the Stanford Center for Technology and Innovation at the Stanford Japan Center in Kyoto. His book The Emergence of Japan’s Foreign Aid Power published by Columbia University Press won the 1991 Ohira Prize for best book on the Asia Pacific.
Dr. Orr’s career began in 1976 when he worked for two years as Legislative Assistant to Congressman Paul G. Rogers (D- FL) a 12-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives. Between 1978 and 1981 he served on the House Foreign Affairs Asia Subcommittee staff seconded from the Select Committee on Narcotics. Between 1981 and 1983 he served as Special Assistant to the Assistant Administrator of Asia in the U.S. Agency for International Development.
The Ambassador holds a B.A. in History, cum laude, from Florida Atlantic University, an M.A. in Government from Georgetown University and a Ph.D. in Political Science from Tokyo University. He speaks/reads German and Japanese fluently as well as conversational French.
Dr. Orr passed away on August 13, 2021. He is loved and remembered by his wife, Miko, his brother, Alex, and his many friends around the world.