UW–Platteville students, staff and faculty and Platteville community members welcomed former covert CIA operations officer Valerie Plame Wilson as part of the university’s Distinguished Lecturer series Wednesday.
Classes, labs and lessons were cancelled to encourage the UW–Platteville community to attend Wilson’s lecture.
Wilson spoke about her experience working for the United States to protect its national security and prevent the proliferation of nuclear weapons. Wilson also discussed the controversy in which senior White House and State Department officials revealed her secret identity to a national journalist who published her name, putting her family and career in jeopardy.
Wilson wrote a New York Times best-selling autobiography, Fair Game, which, in 2010, was made into a major motion picture starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts.
She also spoke on the significance of being self-aware and self-educating of current political events.
“The burden of responsibility in educating others on worldly events is not the current administration’s,” said Wilson. “What is happening on the other side of the world directly impacts everyone, even people in Wisconsin. Our country is so insular. We need to expect more from ourselves and have the desire to self educate on what is going on in the world.”
Wilson also encouraged the audience to seek careers in public service. “I believe public service is extremely important. I come from a family where public service is considered noble. My father and brother served in the United States military, while my mother was a public school teacher. Making public service a part of your career does not mean pursuing a career in the CIA or the state department. There are so many different ways to weave public service into your career.”
Following her lecture, Wilson received a standing ovation.
Wilson and suspense writer Sarah Lovett co-wrote the book Blowback, beginning a contemporary international thriller series set to release Oct. 1.
Wilson is also a leader of the Global Zero initiative, working to end nuclear threats. She appears in and narrates the critically acclaimed documentary “Countdown to Zero,” about the preventable threat of nuclear disaster.