Learn to make a difference

John Graham is the featured speaker Sunday, April 13, at the Island County Democratic Forum from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Hayes Hall Conference Room at the Skagit Valley College Oak Harbor Library.

John Graham is the featured speaker Sunday, April 13, at the Island County Democratic Forum from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Hayes Hall Conference Room at the Skagit Valley College Oak Harbor Library.

Graham will read from his just-published memoir, “Sit Down Young Stranger,” and invite a discussion on what individuals can do to make a difference. A book signing and refreshments will follow. Admission free.

Starting his colorful life early, Graham shipped out on a freighter when he was 16, took part in the first ascent of Mt. McKinley’s North Wall at 20, and hitchhiked around the world at 22.

A Foreign Service Officer for 15 years, he was in the middle of the revolution in Libya and the war in Vietnam. For three years in the mid-’70s, he was a member of NATO’s top-secret Nuclear Planning Group, then served as a foreign policy advisor to Senator John Glenn. At the United Nations, he was deeply involved in U.S. initiatives in Southern Africa, South Asia and Cuba.

Since 1983 Graham has been a leader of the Giraffe Heroes Project, an international organization based in Langley, whose mission is to move people to stick their necks out for the common good. He has also been a leading figure in efforts in Island County to secure sound growth management policies.

A familiar keynote speaker, he’s done TV and radio all over the world. He’s the author of Outdoor Leadership and Stick Your Neck Out—A Street-smart Guide to Creating Change in Your Community and Beyond. His memoir, “Sit Down Young Stranger,” was published in January.

In June, 2005, Graham found himself on the Government’s “No Fly” Watch List, and has been unsuccessful even in finding out why he’s there. He’s been a national spokesperson for the thousands of other loyal Americans whose civil liberties have been infringed by this list.

Graham lives with his wife Ann Medlock in Clinton. He has a degree in geology from Harvard and one in engineering from Stanford, neither of which he ever expects to use.