EWC Saddened by Passing of Former Board Member and House Speaker Tom Foley


The East-West Center community is saddened by the death of former EWC Board of Governors member Thomas S. Foley, a U.S. congressman from Washington State for three decades, speaker of the House from 1989 to 1995, and later Ambassador to Japan.  Foley, who passed away Oct. 18 at age 84, served on the EWC board from 1995 to 1997. 

EWC President Charles E. Morrison said that Foley was an “ideal board member” for the East-West Center:  “He was an internationalist, with a strong interest in Asia. Throughout his life, he sought to build understanding and relations across the different divides that he worked with, whether domestic or international, and he always treated people with enormous courtesy and respect.  That’s why he was so popular in Congress, when he served there, and later in Japan.”

As Ambassador to Japan, Foley helped launch the Center’s educational and research initiative in Okinawa in the year 2000.  About 50 Okinawans have benefited from training and study at the East-West Center since that time.

“America has lost a legend of the United States Congress,” President Obama said in a statement, adding, “Tom’s straightforward approach helped him find common ground with members of both parties.”