Sue C. Root, former Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Western Massahcusetts has passed away after a six-year battle with Alzheimer's Disease.
Sue became associated with the World Affairs Council in 1986. After serving as president of the board, she was the first paid Executive Director for 17 years until her retirement in 2003.
During her tenure, the World Affairs Council hosted President Ronald Reagan in 1988. His speech represented an important turning point in US-Soviet relations, as noted in Colin Powell in his memoir My American Journey.
She was a tireless advocate of citizen diplomacy and people-to-people exchanges. In addition to her duties at the World Affairs Council, she served adminsitrator for the City of Springfield's Sister City activities, and as co-chiar of the Massachusetts-Hokkaido Assocation. She traveled to Japan more than dozen times.
In 2013, the Japanese government conferred upon her the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays in recognition of her significant contributions to promoting friendly relations between Japan and the United States. It marked the first time someone had received this honor for grassroots work in international relations.
A more extensive obituary is available here.
It is impossible to overstate the impact Sue Root has had on the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts. As Ambassador Mark Hambley described her, "She was a great friend and a true partisan for peace and harmony."
Her spirit enlivens every cell of the organization and we miss her greatly.