|Honorary Degree recipient, (R.L. Elliott, 1997 (University Secretary fonds)|
Convocation date: May 22, 1997
Discipline / contribution: international service ; public service
Citation / biographical information:
Eminent Chancellor, on behalf of the Senate, I present to you Robert L, Elliott.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
Robert Elliott is a native of Saskatchewan and an alumnus of our University. In 1949 he completed a degree in Political Science and History. After two years at news-editing and broadcasting with CPQC Radio, he joined the British Colonial Service for five years, and was assigned to Nigeria. In 1956, he joined Canada's Department of External Affairs.
His career in the foreign service of our country began with an assignment in Ottawa dealing with the Suez Crisis, and was followed by a posting in Beirut, Lebanon. During his second headquarters posting in Ottawa, he twice served with the Canadian Delegation to the United Nations General Assembly as advisor on Middle Eastern affairs. His next assignment, in 1963, was in London as First Secretary of the Canadian High Commission. During this tour of duty, Mr. Elliott became the High Commission Officer in charge of Tanzanian interests in London after a rupture of relations between Tanzania and the United Kingdom.
Mr. Elliott's next posting brought him back to Nigeria where civil war had broken out in 1967. He helped arrange the withdrawal of Canadian aid personnel stationed in the country and served in the Canadian High Commission in Lagos until 1969, when he returned to Ottawa. In 1970, Mr. Elliott was sent back to Nigeria to launch rehabilitation assistance at the end of the civil war. There followed an assignment as Ambassador to Algeria, and a posting in Paris as Minister Plenipotentiary during a time of great tensions between Canada and France over that country's relations with Quebec.
In 1980, Mr. Elliott was named Ambassador to Egypt with concurrent accreditation to Sudan. During that posting, he survived both an airplane crash in Sudan, and witnessed first hand the assassination of Anwar Sadat while on a stand on which the Egyptian President was shot in the course of reviewing a military parade. In 1983, Mr. Elliott began a two year assignment as Director General for the Middle East at Ottawa Headquarters, followed in 1985 by his appointment as Ambassador to Hungary. In the final foreign posting of his long and distinguished career he returned for a fourth time to Nigeria, this time as our country's High Commissioner.
Exercising an option available to senior members of Canada's diplomatic corps, Mr. Elliott chose to spend his pre- retirement year as a Visiting Professor at his alma mater. He joined the Department of Political Studies at no expense to the University of Saskatchewan, enriching our curriculum by offering a very popular course on Diplomacy. He also advised many students on international issues, and helped organize a successful academic conference on the Canadian Foreign Service. At the conclusion of his year with us, the College of Arts and Science, with a generous contribution from Mr. Elliott himself, established a trust for an annual award of the Robert L, Elliott Prize to the graduating student with the highest average in the Canadian foreign policy stream in our Department.
The award of the Honorary Doctorate celebrates a man who exemplifies the very finest in public service and who is thus an outstanding example for our students, especially students of Political Studies, History and Public Administration. It allows us, also, to honor Mr. Elliott for the selfless and very valuable contribution that he made to our Department and the University during his year with us.
Eminent Chancellor, I present to you Robert L. Elliott, and ask that you will confer on him the degree of Dcotor of Laws honoris causa.
Degree presented by: Hans J. Michelman
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