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The Future of Afghanistan with Ambassador Olson – Virtual Program

October 22 @ 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm

This is a virtual program, instructions on how to join this meeting will be sent the day before the event.

After two decades of war, can Afghanistan achieve peace? The United States is seeking to withdraw its troops on an unclear timeline after signing an agreement with the Taliban in February 2020. Intra-Afghan peace talks have just begun in Doha, after months of delays due to political turmoil and violence. What are the challenges that stand in the way of a successful outcome to these negotiations and the end of the United States’ longest war? Join the World Affairs Council and former U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, Ambassador Richard Olson, for a discussion on the future of Afghanistan.

About the Speaker
Ambassador Richard Olson retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in November 2016 with the rank of Career Minister. He is currently Senior Advisor at the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP), Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), and an independent consultant.

His final assignment was as U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). From 2012 to 2015 he was the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan.

Olson served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs at U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2011 to 2012. He wasU.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011.

Olson joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. He served in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates (both Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and Najaf, Iraq. He was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). His Washington assignments included: State Department Operations Center (twice), NATO Desk, the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs (twice, including as Director), and the Office of Iraqi Affairs, including as Director.

Olson is a recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, a Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Award for Public Outreach, the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (three times), and the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award (for his service in Iraq). He was awarded the medal of Wazir Akbar Khan by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani.