by: William Westermeyer
Like many, many others, I too am proud to be an FoA, Friend of Andy. I was introduced to the Burlamaqui Society, and to its founder, Andy Sundberg, by another friend and Burlamaqui devotee, Alan Thomas. Although unaware of Andy’s great interest in, and promotion of, effective government when I attended my first "pursuit of happiness" dinner debate, in subsequent dinners and through the emails I started receiving from him it soon became obvious that his interests included not only effective government but a wide variety of other topics as well. Our many mutual interests led to a friendship and some wonderful discussions that I will greatly miss.
I have created an email subdirectory where I regularly file the many messages I receive from Andy. In reviewing it recently I was surprised to see that it contained some 733 messages. Even this sizeable number is almost certainly far less than I actually received from him over the years. I have endeavored to read a good many of the articles contained in these emails, but how could anyone keep up with that steady flow from Andy! His interests were catholic, ranging from all things dealing with Americans abroad to politics, religion, war and peace, human rights, citizenship, history, fine arts, and more. Perhaps notoriously, the IRS and its increasingly irrational treatment of Americans living overseas were often featured. Diving back into the subjects these emails address now, I feel a profound sadness and a deep sense of loss that this inspiring man and friend is no longer around to stimulate and challenge us.
At both the Burlamaqui Society dinners and through his distribution of all those emails, Andy encouraged his many friends and acquaintances to think. Many of his messages ended with the questions “what do you think about this?” and “what would you be willing to do about this?” He spurred us to think, to act, and to make a difference and, finally, to live up to the ideals of Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui. It would be a fitting tribute to Andy if we did our best to follow his advice.
A few years after I met Andy, I had the honor to be inducted into another association that Andy created, the Overseas American Academy. Why me? I’m not entirely sure, but it gives me a warm feeling that someone that I hold in as high esteem as Andy would think to include me as a Fellow in this august group. Like the Burlamaqui Society itself, I hope the OAA will survive as a legacy to Andy’s intelligence, insight, and humanity.