We are speaking today with one of America’s most famous historic personages, distinguished lawyers and prominent public servants, Stuart W. Bowen, Jr.
You have been right at the centre as a key player of some of the most dramatic events of the 21st century.
I feel privileged to have served Texas and the United States in a variety of roles. I started my public service career in 1984 as a U.S. Air Force intelligence officer, spending three years in Germany. Interestingly, in a curious foreshadowing of my future kinetic Middle East work, I provided intelligence support to the U.S. attacks on Libya in 1986. In Texas, I spent six years on Governor Bush’s legal staff (1995-2000). In late 2000, I was on the Bush-Cheney presidential election recount team. I then served on the President elect’s transition team before beginning two years in The White House, first as Associate Counsel to the President and then as Deputy Staff Secretary. In 2004, I began a ten year stint as The Special Inspector General for Iraq’s Reconstruction.
What do you do for relaxation?
I work out almost daily, which includes yoga, strength training, and aerobic exercise. I used to be a gym rat, but the pandemic peremptorily paused that; but the pause allowed renewing my love for outdoor running. Last year, I clocked 833 miles, a personal record! I’m also a guitarist and play nearly every day.
Can you tell us about your family?
In 2007, I married Adriana Sanchez of Bogota, Colombia. In 2010 we welcomed Nathalie Lourdes Bowen into our lives. Now nearly 11, she continues to bless us beautifully in countless ways. I also have four grown children from a previous marriage and soon will become a grandfather!
Where are your favourite places to visit?
I love visiting Colombia, of course, my wife’s native land. It’s a country of extraordinary beauty and joy. Paris, where my Mother lived for over a decade, is near the top of my list, as is Germany, where I lived for four years. I also love England, having spent two years there in my youth.
Do you have a hobby?
Along with exercise and music, I am an avid reader. Lately, I’ve been on an epic stint, perusing Homer, Virgil, and Dante. Milton is next. I’m enjoying these great books much more than I did when I first encountered them in college.
What got you interested in a legal career?
My 5x Great Grandfather was John Marshall, perhaps the most famous and significant American jurist. He served 34 years on the U.S. Supreme Court. From an early age, his life was a topic of familial conversation. That planted the seed which germinated into my legal career.
What advice do you have for anyone who wants to move overseas, like Thailand?
First, living abroad is the greatest education, and it’s good for the soul. It opens the mind to new ways of living and thinking. I have lived ten years of my life overseas (in Okinawa, England, Germany, and Iraq). Those varied experiences provided me a deeper appreciation for all creation. Second, do your homework. Each country has unique legal, economic, and social circumstances requiring attention. Good preparation can obviate a host of problems. Finally, embrace the adventure. What comes your way is a blessing if you welcome it as such.
The Covid-19 pandemic is causing tremendous problems worldwide. What are your feelings?
Covid-19 has devastated the world, with nearly 600,000 Americans lost and millions worldwide. These new vaccines have brought new hope for eliminating this ravaging virus but challenges in distribution and delusive resistance to taking them have pushed that goal further into the future. At this moment, India is suffering grievously from new Covid mutations. I pray that healing comes soon.
What do you see if the future for everyone?
This is an existential question. As a Christian, I live by faith, hope, and love, which find their source in God. God is Love, and thus I subscribe to an optimistic vision for the future, because I trust in the goodness of God.
What do you see is the future for yourself?
I seek to live in the present moment and know that the future is an idea over which I have limited power to shape. I seek to deepen the theme of my life each day, which is to love and serve others with full awareness and unconditional acceptance, beginning with my family.