One of the most rewarding moments in recent years for Manuel Sager, ambassador of Switzerland to the United States, happened about two years ago, he told a group of students at Palm Beach Atlantic University recently.
|Palm Beach Atlantic University President William M. B. Fleming Jr. (left) introduces Ambassador of Switzerland to the United States Manuel Sager to a group of PBA students during the recent President's Lyceum in the Warren Library.|
It was when Ambassador Sager and his wife, Christine, hosted a dinner at their residence in Washington, D.C., for three American hikers who had just been released from a two-year imprisonment in Iran and their family members. During the high-profile case, the Swiss embassy in Tehran, representing U.S. interests in Iran, provided assistance to the detainees.
“We had about 10 or 12 people around the table, and (the hikers) were able to share their experience in prison and it was very moving, of course,” Ambassador Sager recalled. “They had just come back to their families a few days before. That was definitely in every sense of the word a highlight of our professional career, certainly here in the United States.”
The Sagers were the guests of honor at the latest President’s Lyceum, a speaker series in which visitors who have distinguished themselves in various professions come to present their insights and experiences in a discussion with PBA students.
Ambassador Sager worked as an attorney for two years in Arizona before deciding to pursue a career in diplomacy. He since has served in several roles, including as deputy consul general in New York and as head of communications of the Swiss embassy in Washington, D.C.
One thing he has observed from his years in Washington is that people do not dwell on their personal success, he said. Rather, everyone strives to make a difference. “I find that very encouraging,” he said.
He compared their collective work to an ongoing road improvement project. “We all try to pave a little bit of the path towards a better world,” he said. “As I always find out, it starts with ourselves.”
Ambassador Sager also spoke about the value of trust. “To me that is far and away the most important ingredient in a functioning society,” he said, noting that once trust is lost, it is difficult to regain it.
In addition to speaking during the President’s Lyceum, Ambassador Sager spoke in several classes at PBA. He also delighted students by making a surprise appearance at The Anchor, where he played guitar with the praise band.
Previous President’s Lyceum speakers have included president and chief shareholder of Applied Value Group Bruce Grant; Florida House Speaker Will Weatherford; Kenneth Langone, a financial backer and cofounder of Home Depot; former presidential adviser David Gergen; former U.S. Sen. George LeMieux; former human resources executive Bill Conaty; Cleveland Clinic Florida CEO Dr. Bernie Fernandez; and former high-level Defense Department staffer Philip Odeen.