Dr. James Bacchus: From a Journo To a World Politician

Some parts of his life is a typical story of baby boomers, a generation before mine. Dr. James Bacchus was the first person in his family to get a college degree. He got a full academic scholarship from Vanderbilt University and later received a fellowship to attend graduate school and study history at Yale University. And then he went to Law School at Florida State University while he was a young aide to the Governor of Florida.

“Having the opportunity to go to college changed my life and opened up a whole world of opportunities for me,” he said.

His time at Vanderbilt University opened his mind to a world in which there are many ways to think, believe and live. “It also made me realize that despite all the many different ways, all that unites us is more than all that divides us. And many of my travels to different countries, I have been reaffirmed in that belief.”

He was 14 years old when working as a journalist in a little newspaper in Florida. He learned a lot. At 18, he became a journalist for a much bigger newspaper in Orlando.

He worked there during summers and vacations while he was an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University. And he continued to work for them until he left Vanderbilt before he went in the army.

“And then after I got out of the army, I went to Yale University. In the summers when I was assisting in Yale, so I began covering statewide politics in Florida in the age of 20. I was a correspondence reporter at 22 and in my journalism career, I got to know a very idealistic Florida politician named Rubin Askew,” Bacchus reminisced.

He later became Askew’s youngest aide. “[T]hat gave me opportunities to serve after he finished his tenure as governor, he became the U.S. trade representative. I went to Washington to become his assistant and that is how I became involved in trade.”

This is the point when his story is atypical of baby boomers. Bacchus’ career has ever since flourished. He is now a distinguished professor of global affairs and director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity at the University of Central Florida. Prior to that, he was a founding judge and former chairman, and a key part of Appelate Body of the World Trade Organization (WTO). (*/)

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