Retired Ambassador to Visit Claflin University Nov. 7-8

Oct 29, 2013

Claflin University will welcome its first Leader in Residence, retired career U.S. Foreign Service officer James Irvin Gadsden, on Nov. 7-8.

During his visit to Claflin, Gadsden – a Charleston native who served as ambassador to Iceland from 2002 to 2005 – will meet with University and student leaders, and participate in classroom discussions.

Gadsden’s visit is part of the University’s Visionary Leadership Institute, which aims to bring special visitors to the campus to give Claflin students exposure to global leaders. 

The retired ambassador is currently Diplomat-in-Residence and lecturer in public and international affairs at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in Princeton, New Jersey.

From October to December of 2007, Gadsden was senior advisor for European affairs at the U.S. Mission to the United Nations in New York. From 2006 to 2007, he was deputy commandant and international affairs advisor at the National War College in Washington, D.C. He joined the National War College faculty in August 2005, after completing his three years of ambassadorship to Iceland.

Gadsden entered the Foreign Service in 1972 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in economics from Harvard University and a master’s degree in East Asian studies from Stanford University. He was a Mid-Career Fellow at Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, where he continued graduate studies in economics.

Other Foreign Service posts Gadsden has served in include special negotiator for agricultural biotechnology (2001-2002); deputy assistant secretary for European affairs (1997-2001); deputy chief of Mission in Budapest, Hungary (1994-1997); counselor for economic affairs in Paris, France (1989-1993); economic and political officer with the U.S. Mission to the EU (1985-1989); European communities desk officer (1981-1984); staff assistant to the assistant secretary for economic and business affairs (1980-1981); commercial officer in Budapest (1977-1979); market research officer at the U.S. Trade Center in Taipei, Taiwan (1974-1976); and political officer at the Office of East Asian Regional Affairs (1972-1974).

Gadsden and his wife, Sally Freeman Gadsden, have two adult sons.

For more information, call the Claflin University Office of Communications and Marketing at 803-535-5751 or email

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