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Aradhna Pillai, a 2008 George Nigh Award winner at East Central University, will deliver the annual Lou Watkins Lecture, entitled “A Life in International Relations,” from 11 a.m. to noon on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at the ECU Foundation Hall in the Chickasaw Business and Conference Center.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

A native of Fiji, Pillai began her career in international relations, working for the Australian High Commission.  After six years as a research specialist, she left her job at the embassy to pursue her education in political science at ECU. While at ECU, she was a leader in Rotaract, Alpha Chi and Pi Sigma Alpha and she was selected to receive the prestigious 2008 George Nigh Award, which goes to the top senior at the university.

Pillai received a master’s degree in international relations from Seton Hall and was hired as a consultant with the Strategic Communications Division at the United Nations in New York City. She currently works in Washington D.C. as an analyst for SOS International L.L.C., a firm which specializes in providing logistics, construction, training, intelligence and information technology solutions to the defense, diplomatic, intelligence and law enforcement communities.

The purpose of the lectureship, which honors Lou Watkins, former chair of ECU's political science department, is to bring recognized authorities to ECU to address subjects of public interest at the local, state or national level.

Watkins taught at ECU from 1980 until she and her husband, former U.S. Rep. Wes Watkins, moved from Ada in 1991. She is president of World Export Services Inc. and is a member of the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma Agricultural and Mechanical Colleges.

Following the lecture will be lunch and then a panel discussion, “Engaging the World,” beginning at 12:30 p.m. Panelists include ECU senior Linzi Thompson and ECU graduate and current University of Oklahoma law student Joe Trail. To reserve a box lunch contact Dr. Christine Pappas via email at or by calling 580-559-5640.


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