Gouttierre to discuss Afghanistan war

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Afghanistan expert and Bowling Green State University alumnus Thomas Gouttierre will speak on "The Role of Pakistan in the War on Afghanistan" at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 22, in 114 Business Administration Building on the BGSU campus.

Before becoming dean of International Studies and Programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, Gouttierre lived and worked for almost 10 years in Afghanistan. While there, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, a Fulbright Fellow and executive director of the Fulbright Foundation. He also coached the Afghan National Basketball Team.

The U.S. Department of State then tapped him to serve as senior political affairs officer on the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission to Afghanistan in 1996 and 1997. He has served on several international committees related to Afghan refugees and related issues.

He has testified on Afghanistan-related topics and human rights before many different bodies, including the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, committees of the British Parliament and French National Assembly, and the U.N. Select Committee on Human Rights. He has also conducted orientation programs for U.S. military forces assigned to Afghanistan, and is regularly called upon for his expertise. In the first 10 months after 9/11, he did more than 2,000 presentations and interviews. He has also been instrumental in garnering humanitarian and educational aid to post-war Afghanistan.

Gouttierre speaks, reads and writes Afghan Persian (Dari), Iranian Persian (Farsi) and Tajikistani Persian. His publications include numerous articles about Afghanistan society, culture and politics. He was the project director for the development of the 23,000-word Dari-English Dictionary.

In 2001 he was awarded an honorary doctorate of international relations from BGSU, and in 2005 was named a Distinguished Alumnus. Also added to Gouttierre’s list of accomplishments is master baker. As a student attending BGSU, he worked full time at his family’s bakery in downtown Maumee.

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Editor’s Note: Journalists wishing to speak to Gouttierre may contact Dr. Kristie Foell, director of the International Studies Program, at kfoell@bgsu.edu or 419-372-2369, or Bonnie Blankinship, Marketing and Communications, at 419-372-2618.

(Posted April 20, 2010 )