2010 Conference Speakers



Keynote: Ahmed Rashid

Ahmed Rashid is a Pakistani journalist, scholar, and best-selling author of several books on the complex region of Central Asia. His 2000 book, Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil and Fundamentalism in Central Asia, was used extensively by American analysts in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Most recently in Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia (2008), Rashid examines the region and the corridors of power in Washington and Europe to see how the promised nation building in these countries has progressed. His conclusions are devastating: An unstable and nuclear armed Pakistan, a renewed al’ Qaeda profiting from a booming opium trade, and a Taliban resurgence and reconquest. While Iraq continues to attract most of American media and military might, Rashid argues that Pakistan and Afghanistan are where the conflict will finally be played out and that these failing states pose a graver threat to global security than the Middle East. Rashid attended Malvern College, England, Government College Lahore, and Fitzwilliam College, Cambridge. He serves as the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and the Daily Telegraph. He also writes for the Wall Street Journal, The Nation, and academic journals. He appears regularly on international TV and radio networks such as CNN, PBS and BBC World. His commentary also appears in the Washington Post’s PostGlobal segment. Rashid lives in Lahore, Pakistan with his wife and two children.


R. Nicholas Burns

Nicholas Burns is currently Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics as well as Director of the Future of Diplomacy Project at the Kennedy School, Harvard University. He retired from the State Department in April, 2008 after a distinguished career spanning twenty-seven years.  From 2005 until his retirement Burns was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs—the third-ranking position in the State Department—where he led U.S. negotiations with such countries as Iran, India, and Kosovo, and supervised U.S. diplomacy in all regions of the world.  Earlier Burns was U.S. Ambassador to NATO and to Greece. He was the State Department Spokesman for two years and spent five years on the National Security Council staff including as Special Assistant to President Clinton focusing on the former Soviet Union. Later he was Director for Soviet Affairs on the NSC under President Bush.  Earlier in his career Burns was posted in Egypt and Mauritania and served as Political Officer at the American Consulate General in Jerusalem. He is on many boards including the Atlantic Council, the Rockefeller Brothers, and the Appeal of Conscience as well as a proud member of Red Sox Nation.


G. Whitney Azoy

Dr. G. Whitney Azoy is a cultural anthropologist with nearly 40 years experience working in and with Afghanistan and the Muslim world.  Dr. Azoy is a four-time Fulbright scholar, author of Buzkashi :Game and Power in Afghanistan, and National Geographic film maker, who is currently co-producing a documentary film entitled Afghanistan: A Nation of Poets.  Dr. Azoy consulted with the Department of Defense following 9/11, collaborated with the International Security and Assistance Force and the U.S. Army’s Counter-Intelligence Academy, and joined the Foreign Service in 1971 serving as a cultural officer in Kabul and Tehran.  From 2005 to 2007, Dr. Azoy served as Center Director and Senior Fellow of the American Institute of Afghanistan Studies in Kabul.  He has been a guest on the Lehrer News Hour, CNN International, and other foreign news programs.

Dr. Azoy is a graduate of Deerfield and Princeton and began studying graduate anthropology in 1973 at the University of Virginia.  After receiving his doctorate in 1979, he began teaching anthropology and religion at  The Lawrenceville School (NJ). Azoy lives with his wife, Professor Ana Maria Tuset Bertan, in rural Catalonia and the Mexican state of Sonora.


Larry Goodson

Larry Goodson has been Professor of Middle East Studies in the Department of National Security and Strategy at the U.S. Army War College in Calisle, PA, since 2002. He conducts a special program on Afghanistan at the War College and consults frequently on South Asia with senior military leaders.  Dr. Goodson was a Technical Advisor on Elections and a Monitor for the Emergency Loya Jirga in Afghanistan in 2002. In 2008-2009 he spent four months with the team that developed U.S. strategy in South Asia for the U.S. Central Command. He earned his B.A., M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from the University of North Carolina. Goodson has traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan often, has lectured and consulted widely with  governments and non-governmental agencies, and has conducted more than 1,000 media interviews since September 11, 2001. He is the author of the bestselling Afghanistan’s Endless War: State Failure, Regional Politics, and the Rise of the Taliban (2001). His book The Talibanization of Pakistan will soon be published by Palgrave MacMillan.


Athanasios Moulakis

Dr. Athanasios Moulakis joined the American University of Afghanistan as Chief Academic Officer at the beginning of 2008 after serving as a Public Policy Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC, and as Onassis Foundation Fellow in Athens, Greece. Previously, he was director of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies of the University of Lugano. Over an 11-year period Dr. Moulakis was Herbst Professor of Humanities and Professor of Political Science at the University of Colorado, where he was also founding Director of the Herbst Program of Humanities. Dr. Moulakis has held other academic and administrative assignments at European and North American colleges, institutes, and universities. A partial list includes the European University Institute in Florence, where he served as head of the Department of Political and Social Sciences; a Fulbright professorship at the University of Jena, Germany; the London School of Economics; St. John’s College, Annapolis; Harvard University; and the University of California, San Diego.

His publication list includes a large number of books and articles on topics in the humanities, political theory, public policy, higher education, international relations, and other scholarly fields. With a Dr.Phil. (magna cum laude) degree from the Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Dr. Moulakis has published and lectured in five languages. He has received numerous academic honors and awards, including the American Association of Colleges and Universities’ prize for best book on liberal education.


Ronald E. Neumann

Ronald E. Neumann now serves as President of the American Academy of Diplomacy in Washington, D.C., an institute formed by former Senior U.S. Foreign Service officers to strengthen the resources and skills of American diplomats.  Prior to his retirement in 2007 Neumann was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State and three times U.S. Ambassador: to Algeria, to Bahrain, and from 2005 to 2007 to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.  He served in the Baghdad Embassy in 2004.   His other posts included Director of the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs and postings in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, Iran, and Senegal as well as stateside positions with the Jordan Desk, the Middle East (NEA) Bureau, and the Office of Southern European Affairs. Ambassador Neumann has written a number of monographs and articles and a recently-issued book, The Other War: Winning and Losing in Afghanistan (2009).  He speaks French, Arabic, and some Dari.  Neumann served as a decorated infantry officer in Vietnam after earning his B.A. and M.A. degrees from the University of California at Riverside.


Paul R. Pillar

Dr. Paul R. Pillar serves as Georgetown University’s Director of Graduate Studies at the Center for Peace and Security Studies.  Professor Pillar retired in 2005 from a 28-year career in the U.S. intelligence community, in which his last position was National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia. Earlier he served in a variety of analytical and managerial positions, including as chief of analytic units at the CIA covering portions of the Near East, the Persian Gulf, and South Asia. Professor Pillar also served in the National Intelligence Council as one of the original members of its Analytic Group. He has been Executive Assistant to CIA’s Deputy Director for Intelligence and Executive Assistant to Director of Central Intelligence William Webster. He has also headed the Assessments and Information Group of the DCI Counterterrorist Center and, from 1997 to 1999, was deputy chief of the center. He was a Federal Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institution in 1999-2000. Professor Pillar is a retired officer in the U.S. Army Reserve and served on active duty in 1971-1973, including a tour of duty in Vietnam.  Dr. Pillar earned an A.B. degree from Dartmouth College, and received the B.Phil from Oxford University and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Princeton University.


Teresita C. Schaffer

Teresita Schaffer is director of the South Asia Program at CSIS. Her areas of expertise include U.S.–South Asia relations, regional security, and economics, energy, and health policy in India. During her 30-year career in the U.S. Foreign Service, she specialized in international economics and South Asia, on which she was one of the State Department’s principal experts. From 1989 to 1992, she served as deputy assistant secretary of state for South Asia, at that time the senior South Asia position in the department; from 1992 to 1995, she was U.S. ambassador to Sri Lanka; and from 1995 to 1997, she served as director of the Foreign Service Institute. Her earlier posts included Tel Aviv, Islamabad, New Delhi, and Dhaka, as well as a tour as director of the Office of International Trade in the State Department.

After retiring from the Foreign Service, Schaffer spent a year as a consultant on business issues relating to South Asia. She has also taught at Georgetown University and American University and authored publications on peace building in Sri Lanka, women’s studies in Bangladesh, and diplomacy in India, Kashmir, and Pakistan. Most recently, Schaffer authored India and the United States in the 21st Century: Reinventing Partnership (CSIS, 2009), which examined the strategic ties between the two countries and proposed new policies with global implications. She is currently writing a book on Pakistani negotiating styles that draws from her own experiences as a Foreign Service Officer, as well as from historical evidence. Schaffer speaks French, Swedish, German, Italian, Hebrew, Hindi, and Urdu, and has studied Bangla and Sinhala.


Samina Quraeshi

Samina Quraeshi is an award-winning designer, artist, author and educator dedicated to addressing the cultural emergency that faces our world today. Through her cultural, strategic and academic initiatives she promotes healing through understanding of our collective humanity while honoring and supporting our diverse traditions. She is currently the Robert Gardner Visiting Artist Fellow at the Peabody Museum at Harvard University and a principal of Shepard Quraeshi Associates, where she supervises graphic, environmental and architectural design for a diverse national and international clientele. She participates on many boards and committees, including the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, The Education for Family-Centered Community Development Initiative, and the Fulbright Scholars Program.

She served for six years as the Henry R. Luce Professor at the University of Miami after her appointment as the NY Times Resident in Design Arts at the American Academy in Rome in 1998, which followed four years as Director of Design at the National Endowment for the Arts. In 1993, Quraeshi was appointed the Assistant Director of the Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University. Ms. Quraeshi received her BFA from the Kansas City Art Institute and MFA from Yale University School of Art. She is the recipient of numerous awards as well as honorary doctoral degrees from Bradford College and the Art Institute of Boston. She has taught graphic design and printmaking as a member of the faculties of the Rhode Island School of Design and the Boston University School of Visual Arts.