The unexpected happened Friday, Oct. 9, 2009 to 1984 Brophy graduate Thomas L. Vajda. He met with democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi in Yangon, Myanmar.
Suu Kyi, the opposition National League for Democracy leader who has been detained for 14 of the last 20 years, was allowed to meet with U.S., British and Australian diplomats by Myanmar’s military junta to discuss the lifting of sanctions on Myanmar.
The diplomats who met with her at her request were U.S. Embassy’s Acting Charge d’Affaires Tom Vajda, British Ambassador Andrew Heyn and Australia’s Deputy Head of Mission Simon Star.
The meeting lasted an hour, after which she was brought back to her house where she has been under house arrest since May of 2003. At some point, another meeting is expected.
Tom could be seen on YouTube and CNN shaking hands with her.
After graduating from Brophy, Tom attended Stanford University and earned a degree in Political Science. He received his Master’s Degree from the Fletcher School of International Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University in Boston.
Upon graduation from Fletcher’s, Tom was employed by the Department of State and embarked on his first assignment in Berlin, Germany as Assistant to the U.S. Ambassador.
He has since served at the U.S. Embassies in South Korea and Albania.
Before assuming the position of Charge of the U.S. Embassy in Myanmar in August 2008, Tom was assigned to the desk of the Pacific Rim Countries at the State Department.
He was the assistant to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright at the Pacific Rim Conference.
The Brophy community can be very proud of Tom’s dedication and service to our country in the field of international diplomacy.
By helping to keep the spirit of democracy alive in Myanmar, Tom is living up to Brophy’s motto as a Man for Others.
Editor’s Note: The writer is Thomas L. Vajda’s aunt.