Local diplomat honored by Rainier Club

James Huntley, a 35-year member of The Rainier Club of Seattle, was given special recognition by the club for a lifetime of promoting democracy. He is the first to receive the E Pluribus Unum Award, which honors members who help their community and/or global society in some ways. Huntley has lived in seven countries and was involved in diplomatic relations with 12 during his career.

Retired U.S. diplomat James Huntley, 86, of Sequim, received the first E Pluribus Unum Award from the prestigious Rainier Club earlier this month.

The award, meaning "Out of many, one," was given for his service to the United States and global society for promoting democracy and peace.

"He has dedicated a long and fruitful life to the idealistic, impassioned and unswerving pursuit of a truly noble objective - the achievement of world peace and the establishment of a strong structure of democratic nations capable of resisting and defeating the anti-democratic elements among nations," said Will Aikens, The Rainier Club president.

More than 100 people attended the ceremony in Seattle, including his neighbor Clallam County Commissioner Steve Tharinger, family members and his wife of 43 years, Colleen Huntley.

Huntley has been a member of the Rainier Club for 35 years and Colleen Huntley said he was "really bowled over" by the award and ceremony.

Democratic peace

Huntley's passport must look like a traveler's dream book since he's lived in seven different countries and was involved in diplomatic relations with 12.

One of his earliest goals was dedicating himself to creating a guaranteed way his children and grandchildren could live in peace.

"I've been working my whole adult life toward world peace by encouraging others to build democratic governments around the world," Huntley said.

"Simply put, democracies very rarely make war on each other. If you want to create peace, then create more and more democracies."

Sequim residents James and Colleen Huntley stand outside their Dungeness home where they retired. Sequim Gazette photos by Matthew Nash

Presidential impact

He advised presidents including Dwight Eisenhower and Ronald Reagan, researched for think tanks and promoted democracy through a number of avenues.

Huntley says his most important work is summarized in his book "Pax Democratica: A Strategy for the Twenty-first Century," which suggests Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the U.S. form an intercontinental community of democracies.

He co-founded the Committees for a Community of Democracies that says stronger democracies gradually should open their doors to less-developed democracies so that similarly minded countries can come together over politics.

Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeline Albright took concepts from his group to form the Community of Democracies in 2000, which brought 106 nations together in Warsaw, Poland.

In 2001, he co-founded the nongovernmental Council for a Community of Democracies to strengthen ties between the world's democracies, foster new democracies and strengthen existing ones through advocacy and cooperation with civilians and governments. This helps promote the Community of Democracies governmental aspect.

Returning to his roots

Born in Washington, Huntley always had a passion to return to the Pacific Northwest despite his travels.

He and Colleen moved to Sequim 10 years ago after living on Bainbridge Island where he served on the land trust group and the board of the World Affairs Council of Seattle.

His early work in the post-World War II era brought him to foreign service in Germany. He helped Germans with exchanges and travel arrangements to see first-hand how democracy works in America.

Huntley earned a master's degree in international relations from Harvard University, which led to employment with the Ford Foundation, Battelle Memorial Institute and U.S. Information Agency.

He's authored several books including his memoir "An Architect of Democracy: Building a Mosaic of Peace."

One of his proudest achievements is earning his Eagle Scout badge with the Boys Scouts of America.

Read more about Huntley's Council for a Community of Democracies at He also was featuring in the Summer 2009 issue of Living on the Peninsula, published by the Sequim Gazette.

Reach Matthew Nash at

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