Scholar of Afghanistan to give March 11 presentation

A scholar of Afghanistan who formerly lived in that Asian country for almost a decade will visit Western Carolina University to deliver a free public lecture titled “Afghanistan: The Burning Questions.”

Thomas E. Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies and dean of international studies and programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, will speak at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 11, in the auditorium of WCU’s Mountain Heritage Center.

Gouttierre has been in his current positions since 1974, but prior to that he lived and worked in Afghanistan, where he was a Peace Corps volunteer, Fulbright Fellow, executive director of the Fulbright Foundation, and coach of the Afghan national basketball team.

Gouttierre served in 1996 and 1997 as senior political affairs officer for the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan. Over the years, he has testified on topics related to the war in Afghanistan, U.S.-Pakistani relations, international terrorism and human rights before hearings of the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee on five different occasions, and twice before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations. He also has testified on Afghanistan and human rights issues in hearings before the British Parliament, French National Assembly and the United Nations Select Committee on Human Rights.

During his time at WCU, Gouttierre also will participate in question-and-answer sessions with students and visit geography and history classes. Part of the university’s Visiting Scholar Series, Gouttierre’s visit is sponsored by WCU’s departments of history, and geosciences and natural resources.

For more information, contact Andrew Kurt in the history department at 828-227-3866.