October 7, 2011 — Former U.S. Sen. Charles S. Robb (D-Virginia) and his wife, Lynda Johnson Robb, will join the spring 2012 voyage of the Semester at Sea global-comparative education program as the MV Explorer sails from Cape Town, South Africa, to Shanghai Feb. 24 to April 7.
Sen. Robb will serve as a distinguished visiting lecturer as part of the Semester at Sea C.Y. Tung Program in Sino-U.S. Relations, a signature curriculum that focuses on Chinese and American relations, history, culture, economics and diplomacy, participates in field and travel programs in China, and provides scholarships to Chinese and American students.
Lynda Robb will contribute to the voyage her recollections of important events in the history of U.S. relations with Vietnam and her knowledge of international issues pertaining to women and children.
The University of Virginia is the academic sponsor of Semester at Sea. Victor Luftig, associate professor of English and director of the Center for the Liberal Arts in the College of Arts & Sciences, is serving as the academic dean of the spring voyage.
He said that the Robbs' visit to the ship will give students "unique access to two astonishingly gifted and generous public servants who have lived at the center of history. It's hard to imagine more inspiring guides to young people who are determining their own roles in confronting current international challenges."
Sen. Robb is the only member of the Senate ever to serve simultaneously on all three national security committees: Armed Services, Intelligence and Foreign Relations. After graduating from the Marine Officers School, he served in both the 1st and 2nd Marine Divisions, and his assignments included duty as a military social aide at the White House and command of an infantry company in combat in Vietnam. He is currently a member of the FBI Director's Advisory Board, the U.Va.-based Critical Incident Analysis Group, the Center for Infrastructure Protection Advisory Board, the Council on Foreign Relations Independent Task Force on Pakistan and Afghanistan, and the Homeland Security Policy Institute.
Alongside fellow Tung visitor Po Chung Yang, Robb will join Tung program faculty members Ruizhuang Zhang of Nankai University in Tianjin, China, and Edward Farmer of the University of Minnesota.
Lynda Johnson Robb is the daughter of President Lyndon Johnson. While living in the White House following her graduation with honors from the University of Texas, she helped establish Reading Is Fundamental (RIF), now the nation's largest children's literacy organization. In 1979 she was appointed by President Carter to serve as chair of the President's Advisory Committee for Women, a position she held until 1981. She received a Congressional appointment as a member of the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality.
She is president of the National Home Library Foundation and is a member of the board of the LBJ Foundation, which supports the LBJ Library and the LBJ School of Public Service.
The spring voyage will depart Jan. 19 from Nassau, Bahamas, and travel to Roseau, Dominica; Manaus, Brazil; Tema, Ghana; Cape Town, South Africa; Port Louis, Mauritius; Cochin, India; Singapore; Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam; Hong Kong and Shanghai, China; Kobe and Yokohama, Japan; and Hilo, Hawaii, before returning to San Diego on May 2.
For information, visit the Semester at Sea website.