Congressman Douglas Bereuter to spend a week in residence

Image of Congressman Douglas Bereuter
February 20, 2013

Douglas Bereuter entered Congress in 1979 as a Republican representative from Nebraska, the same year that a freshman Democratic congressman from Sacramento made his way onto to the hill—Robert T. Matsui. 

“Robert Matsui and I were elected at the same time, November of 1978,” Bereuter said. “We had a friendly relationship.” 

Thirty-five years later, Bereuter is retired from Congress and is visiting the Robert T. Matsui Center for Public Service, housed within IGS, as the Matsui Lecturer. After more than twenty-five years in office, Matsui died from a rare stem cell disorder on January 1, 2005 at the age of 65 and the Matsui Center was created shortly after as a continuation of his public service and dedication as a UC Berkeley alum. 

“I was happy to do it because of Bob and indeed his wife as well,” Bereuter said. Matsui’s wife, Congresswoman Doris Matsui was elected to her husbands’ congressional seat in a special election in March of 2005—she has served continuously since then. 

Bereuter will spend a week in residence at the Matsui Center, giving numerous talks around campus in subjects ranging from forest ecosystems to politics in China. He will also deliver the annual Matsui Lecture entitled: Can the World Feed 9 billion People? A Global and Agricultural Development Initiative. 

The talk topic, Bereuter says, is a timely one. “By 2050 we’ll have 9 billion people on this planet, and the restraints on land and water and impact on global climate change means that it will be increasingly difficult to provide agriculture,” he said.

But, Bereuter says, improvements in agricultural developments are exactly what need to happen to help bring down poverty rates worldwide. 

“My lecture will be based on what I’ve learned in the last five or six years, and what I saw in Asia and South East Asia where I visited as part of the foundation,” Bereuter said. 

After retiring from Congress in 2004, Beureuter went to work (the next day) at the Asia Foundation where as President and Chief Executive Officer he helped grow their programs to address critical issues of governance, law, economic development women’s empowerment, environment and regional cooperation in Asia. 

Bereuter’s visit will begin on Monday, March 11 and the public lecture is scheduled for March 13 at 4:00PM in Sutardja Dai Hall. He said he’s looking forward to meeting Cal students. 

“Students have an energy, an intellectual curiosity, usually the question and answer periods with them are the most stimulating for me,” Bereuter said. “I look forward to those in particular. They’ll put you on the spot. It reminds me of all the town hall meetings I used to do,” he added, chuckling.