Death of Senator Richard Lugar (April 30)

Death of Senator Richard Lugar (April 30)

Morgan Ortagus
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
April 30, 2019

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of Senator Richard Lugar on April 28. Senator Lugar is well known for his contributions to the diplomatic history of the United States, particularly in the field of non-proliferation. He was twice selected to serve as the Chairperson of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. We are grateful for his tireless work and advocacy to reduce global threats from weapons of mass destruction.

Following the end of the Cold War, Senator Lugar partnered with Senator Sam Nunn from Georgia, to create the Nunn-Lugar Cooperative Threat Reduction program. The program assisted the states of the former Soviet Union to get rid of their nuclear weapons rather than risk having them fall into the hands of terrorists and rogue states. This program also led to upgraded security at weapons sites and efforts to find alternative employment for Soviet weapons scientists.

Senator Lugar was a strong advocate to end apartheid in South Africa, and his efforts to impose trade and economic sanctions on the apartheid regime hastened its demise and contributed to the creation of a democratic South Africa.

Senator Lugar will also be remembered for his vision in co-sponsoring the Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study program (YES). Created in response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the YES program has brought more than 12,000 foreign high school students from countries with significant Muslim populations to the United States to attend American schools and live in American families and has sent more than 500 American high school students to live and study abroad.

Senator Lugar remained devoted to the YES program, meeting with the program participants every year in Washington. While he will be missed, his legacy will live on as both American and foreign high school students continue to learn more about each other and how to work towards a brighter future.