Steps Magazine | Career Diplomat Serves as CSUSM’s First History Maker in Residence
In fall 2013 the Department of History launched its new Distinguished History Maker in Residence program, focusing on the contributions made by a prominent individual in the region who has helped shape the course of history.
“Our goal is to bring individuals who have influenced history and the way we think about the past to
campus to interact with our community and to act as mentors to CSUSM students,” said Professor of History Carmen Nava.
Alejandro Orfila, former secretary general to the Organization of American States and Argentine ambassador to the United States, Japan and the Soviet Union, was the inaugural CSUSM History Maker honoree.
“Ambassador Orfila has known and worked with countless politicians during his long career in diplomacy,” said Nava. “He worked closely with all of the U.S. presidents from Dwight D. Eisenhower to George H.W. Bush and also served as a consultant in the field of international finances and economic affairs, based in Washington, DC.”
Today, the 89-year-old ambassador operates the award-winning Orfila Vineyards in Escondido. His family has been in the winemaking business in Argentina for four generations—his grandfather’s winery, founded in 1905, still exists today.
During his semester-long residency at CSUSM, Ambassador Orflia shared his insights on his long career in foreign policy and hosted a reception for faculty. As part of the history department’s master’s program, which places a strong emphasis on training in digital history, the ambassador also worked with four graduate students to film his oral history.
“Ambassador Orfila’s oral history will be archived in the University’s library archives and select clips will be featured on an online History Maker website soon,” said Nava. “We are very grateful to the ambassador for sharing his important memories, helping us contribute to our educational mission and enrich our students’ learning experiences.”
Later this year President Haynes will present Orfila with an honorary doctorate in recognition of his notable contributions to society and the region.