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Ron W.
Democrat OR

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  • Remembering Robert Textor Ph.D

    by Senator Ron Wyden

    Posted on 2013-03-11

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    WYDEN. Madam President, earlier this year my home state of Oregon lost one of its most visionary citizens, Dr. Robert Bayard Textor. Today I wish to join his friends, family, colleagues, and I hope the rest of the country, in mourning the loss of this thoughtful and uniquely accomplished man, who would have turned 90 this week.

    Linguists tell us that the term ``citizen'' is synonymous with an inhabitant of a city or community. Bob was all of that and much more.

    Bob began his studies at Antioch College before joining the U.S. Army in 1943. After the war he volunteered to use newly acquired language skills to aid in the reconstruction of post-war Japan. Like our late colleague former Senator Mark Hatfield, his experiences in that war- ravaged country proved to be a turning point in his life. When he left Japan in 1948, Bob resumed his formal education and focused his Ph.D. studies at Cornell on what would be his lifelong passion--cultural anthropology--and committed himself to a career of seeking better ways to handle human problems.

    Amid the Cold War and the arms race, Bob's drive to reduce intercultural misunderstanding led him to study first in Vienna, Austria, and late in Asia where he studied four different Asian languages.

    Upon his return to the U.S., Bob advised the then-nascent Peace Corps in 1961-1962. During that time, he helped train the first cohort of Peace Corps Volunteers to be deployed in Thailand and wrote a memo to Peace Corps Director Sargent Shriver titled ``In-Up-Out.'' That concept, specifying how the Peace Corps would benefit by staying youthful and vigorous, guides the agency to this day.

    Bob joined the faculty of Stanford University in 1964. When he retired in 1990, he served as a Courtesy Professor of International Studies at the University of Oregon, bringing his rare gifts to Oregonians and visiting students alike.

    While he researched, taught and studied at Harvard, Stanford, Oregon, and Cornell, above all, Dr. Textor was an anthropologist and an important innovator in the use of quantitative methods in comparative global analysis. He remains a force in what is now known as anticipatory anthropology and his work in this field lives on through the Textor Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology.

    He wrote a comprehensive book on the legendary Margaret Mead titled ``The World Ahead,'' and, at the request of Motorola, co-authored an analysis of its corporate culture titled ``Uncompromising Integrity: Motorola's Global Challenge.'' While Dr. Textor will be remembered by his peers for his academic and governmental achievements, Bob Textor's legacy is much more personal. In Portland, Bob served on the Metro Future Vision Commission and helped craft a report which still guides the Portland Metro area's development.

    In 1998, Bob's ``thirst'' for knowledge prompted him to found a policy salon that lives today: The Thirsters. Convened every Thursday except Thanksgiving, the Thirsters bring together policy experts, diplomats, business people and academicians to thrash out issues of technology, politics, social justice, ethics, sustainability and culture, all done amicably over glasses of Oregon's famous home-grown beverages.

    To quote his fellow Thirster, Lewis and Clark College Professor Emeritus Roger Paget: ``He leaves a significant legacy, not only in several professional fields and the community of Thirsters, but above all in Marisa and Alex, his children, both of whom imbibed his love of making sense out of being in different cultures.'' On behalf of his colleagues, the millions who have benefitted from their experience with the Peace Corps and my constituents in the Thirsters, I want to express my appreciation for Bob Textor's life and service to his country and the world. ____________________

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