February 27, 2005: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: Speaking Out: Southwest Nebraska News: Thomas Gouttierre says: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Afghanistan: Special Report: Afghanistan Expert RPCV Thomas Gouttierre: February 9, 2005: Index: PCOL Exclusive: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre (Afghanistan) : February 27, 2005: Headlines: COS - Afghanistan: Speaking Out: Southwest Nebraska News: Thomas Gouttierre says: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

By Admin1 (admin) (pool-151-196-123-27.balt.east.verizon.net - on Friday, March 04, 2005 - 9:39 pm: Edit Post

Thomas Gouttierre says: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

Thomas Gouttierre says: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

Thomas Gouttierre says: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

Gouttierre: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

Goutierre’s Comments
with introduction by Don Blank

Last night, Southwest Nebraska Rotarians celebrated Rotary’s 100th birthday at a Centennial Dinner held at Town Talk Restaurant in Cambridge. The event featured guest speaker Thomas E. Gouttierre, Dean of International Studies and Programs at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) and the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) and the Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at UNO.

During his presentation, Gottierre discussed the history of the region, Afghanistan’s ethnic diversity and post 9/11 democratization. Gottierre also discussed his relationship with prominent Afghan figures Ahmad Shah Massoud and Hamid Karzai.

Gouttierre emphasized his belief that the fates of the Afghan and American people are interconnected and that U.S. involvement in the region was accepted by the majority of Afghanistan’s citizens.

“There is no ambiguity in the minds of the Afghans about weather or not they want the United States in Afghanistan” Gouttierre asserted, adding that if there were any complaints at all, it is “that we dumped them once and they are concerned that we might dump them again.”

Gouttierre was raised in Maumee, Ohio, where he worked in his father's pastry shop from age 8 to age 24, receiving his Master Baking Certificate at the age of 18. Prior to assuming his present position in 1974, he lived and worked for nearly ten years in Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, Gouttierre served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, a Fulbright Fellow, and Executive Director of the Fulbright Foundation. Throughout his time in Afghanistan, Gouttierre coached the Afghan National Basketball Team.

Gouttierre served on the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission to Afghanistan, in the capacity of Senior Political Affairs Officer, in the winter and spring of 1996/1997. He has participated in Fulbright Programs in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Norway, France, India, Nepal, and Germany. He was a member of the International Rescue Committee’s Citizens Commission on Afghanistan Refugees from 1988-1993. In 1995/1996, he served as the President of the Omaha Rotary Club. In June 1992, the University of the City of Manila in the Philippines conferred upon Gouttierre the degree of Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa); in May 1997 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Technological University of Tajikistan; and in May 2001 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of International Relations from his alma mater, Bowling Green State University.

Gouttierre has made presentations on aspects of the war in Afghanistan, on US-Pakistani Relations, on International Terrorism, and on Human Rights in hearings before the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations. He has been invited to present his views on Afghanistan and Human Rights Issues in hearings before committees of the British Parliament, the French National Assembly, the Norwegian Storting, and the UN Select Committee on Human Rights. Since 1986, Gouttierre has served as the American specialist on Afghanistan, Tajikistan, and South Asia at the meetings of the US - Russian (formerly Soviet) Task Force (Dartmouth Conference) on Regional Conflicts.

Gouttierre has spoken on topics as diverse as Afghanistan, Regional Conflicts, Global Education, Terrorism, US Foreign Policy, Third World Development, the Persian Gulf War, etc. at US State Department conferences and meetings, world affairs and foreign relations organizations, university and college campuses, service clubs, church organizations, and schools. Gouttierre is regularly called upon by representatives of the international, national, and local media and by various organizations to present his expert opinion on these topics.

Gouttierre speaks, reads, and writes Afghan Persian (Dari), Iranian Persian (Farsi), and Tajiki Persian (Tajiki) fluently; he has also studied Arabic, French, German, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. His publications include numerous articles about Afghanistan society, culture, and politics; a co-authored, two-volume language textbook (Dari for Foreigners); original Dari poetry; translations of Persian poetry; and a variety of magazine and newspaper articles concerned with other international topics.

Under the direction of Gouttierre, UNO has established institutional linkages and major program activities with universities in Afghanistan, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Ukraine.

Gouttierre and his associates have obtained grants and contracts for UNO in excess of $80 million. Under one series of grants from USAID from 1986 to 1994, the Center for Afghanistan Studies directed the development of curricula and the delivery of education to over 130,000 Afghan school children at more than 1,300 sites inside war-torn Afghanistan. Under other grants and contracts, UNO has provided training to professionals from Afghanistan, China, Moldova, Pacific Rim countries, Romania, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, etc. in American business, management, and insurance practices, public administration, higher education development, conflict resolution, and related areas.

Since the inception of Rotary, Rotarians have responded to worldwide crises. Their dedication can be seen from Rotary’s commitment of eradication of Polio to offering assistance and support for the tsunami disaster in South Asia. Today, Rotarians stand at the brink of a great victory and look forward to celebrating the global eradication of polio in 2005, the organization's centennial year.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional leaders united worldwide who provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards, and help to build goodwill and peace in the world. Paul P. Harris formed the world's first service club, the Rotary Club of Chicago, Illinois, USA, on 23 February 1905. The name Rotary is derived from the early practice of rotating meetings among members' offices. Today there are approximately 1.2 million Rotary club members of more than 30,000 Rotary clubs in 164 countries.

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Story Source: Southwest Nebraska News

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Afghanistan; Speaking Out



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