graphic of festival logo

SPEAKERS

photo of Khaled HosseiniDr. Khaled Hosseini - August 30, 2011

Dr. Khaled Hosseini is the author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” Both novels provide an excellent view of Afghan culture. Born in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1965, Dr. Hosseini is the son of a former diplomat whose position in the Afghan Foreign Ministry relocated his family to Paris in 1976. Their 1980 planned return to Kabul was thwarted by a communist coup and an invasion by the Soviet Union. Granted political asylum, the family settled in California. Dr. Hosseini, who received his medical degree from the University of California at San Diego, practiced internal medicine from 1996-2004.

During this time, he wrote “The Kite Runner,” a prizewinning novel that has been published in 48 countries. “The Kite Runner” chronicles the friendship between two boys growing up in Kabul. Their intertwined lives, and their fates, reflect the eventual tragedy of the world around them.

In 2007, he published “A Thousand Splendid Suns.” An international best-seller, the novel is set against the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last 30 years.

photo of steve collSteve Coll - September 29, 2011

Best-selling author Steve Coll, president of New America Foundation and a contributor to The New Yorker, will helm the speaker’s dais on September 29. Coll won the Pulitzer Prize for “Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and Bin Laden, from the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.”

Based on scrupulous research and firsthand accounts by key government, intelligence and military personnel both foreign and American, “Ghost Wars” details the secret history of the CIA’s role in Afghanistan, the rise of the Taliban, the emergence of Osama Bin Laden and more.

Coll’s 2008 book, “The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century,” documents the story of the Bin Laden family’s rise to power and privilege, revealing new information to show how American influences changed the family and how one member’s rebellion changed America.

photo of Chuck HagelChuck Hagel - October 26, 2011

Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel will be featured on October 26. Hagel is a Distinguished Professor of National Governance at Georgetown University’s Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service as well as a Distinguished Centennial Visiting Professor at the University of Nebraska-Omaha’s College of Public Affairs and Community Service. He is the author of “America: Our Next Chapter: Tough Questions, Straight Answers” in which he examines foreign policy problems, including China’s growing economy, India and Pakistan’s nuclear capabilities, and Iran’s aggressive political, ideological and nuclear stances. During his two terms in the U.S. Senate, Hagel was a member of the Committee for Foreign Relations and the Select Committee on Intelligence, among other appointments.

His work in the private sector includes stints as president and chief executive officer of the Private Sector Council in Washington, deputy director and chief operating officer of the 1990 Economic Summit of Industrialized Nations (G-7 Summit) and president and CEO of the World United Service Organizations.

Hagel continues to be an active public servant through his participation in civic, educational, and charitable organizations such as the Institute of Politics at Harvard University, the German Marshall Fund’s Trade and Poverty Forum, the Eisenhower World Affairs Institute and the Council on Foreign Relations.

photo of Robin Wright Robin Wright - January 19, 2012

Journalist and foreign policy analyst Robin Wright will be the first speaker of the Spring 2012 semester on January 19, 2012. She is currently a Jennings Randolph Senior Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace as well as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Wright has published multiple books, including "Sacred Rage: The Wrath of Militant Islam," "The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran," and "The Iran Primer: Power, Politics, and U.S. Policy." She is currently working on her seventh book, "Rock the Cashbah: Rage and Rebellion Across the Islamic World."

Wright has reported from more than 140 countries on six continents for leading news outlets including the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Sunday Times of London and CBS News. She has also written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine, TIME, The International Herald Tribune, and many others.

photo of Stanley McChrystalGen.(Ret.)Stanley A. McChrystal - March 15, 2012

Gen. (Ret.) Stanley A. McChrystal is widely praised for creating a revolution in warfare that fused intelligence and operations. A four-star general, he is the former commander of U.S. and international forces in Afghanistan and the former leader of Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which oversees the military’s most sensitive forces. McChrystal’s leadership of JSOC is credited with the December 2003 capture of Saddam Hussein and the June 2006 location and killing of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq. McChrystal, a former Green Beret, is known for his candor, innovative leadership, and going the distance.

The son and grandson of Army officers, McChrystal graduated from West Point in 1976 and began training at the Special Forces School at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, two years later. He was commissioned as an infantry officer, and spent much of his career commanding special operations and airborne infantry units. During the Persian Gulf War, McChrystal served in a Joint Special Operations Task Force and later commanded the 75th Ranger Regiment. He completed year-long fellowships at Harvard’s John F. Kennedy School of Government in 1997 and in 2000 at the Council on Foreign Relations.

In 2002, he was appointed chief of staff of military operations in Afghanistan. Two years later, McChrystal was selected to deliver nationally televised Pentagon briefings about military operations in Iraq. From 2003 to 2008, he commanded JSOC and was responsible for leading the nation’s deployed military counter-terrorism efforts around the globe, assuming command of all international forces in Afghanistan in June 2009. President Obama’s order for an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan was based on McChrystal’s assessment of the war.

McChrystal retired from the military in 2010. He now serves on the board of directors for JetBlue Airways, Navistar, and the Yellow Ribbon Fund. In 2011, he returned to public service after the Obama administration invited him to oversee Joining Forces, a high-profile initiative that aims to support military families. McChrystal will lead its three-member advisory board.