Middle East, Central Asia Focus of Conference

The USF Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies is hosting scholars to discuss critical issues in the region.


By Vickie Chachere

USF News


TAMPA, Fla. (Dec. 3, 2012) – Seventeen scholars and experts on the Middle East and Central Asia will participate in a three-day conference Tuesday, Dec. 4, though Thursday, Dec. 6, on the future of the volatile region in the first event sponsored by U.S. Central Command’s academic consortium, USF World's Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies and Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies.   


The Scanning the Horizon Project will feature six panel discussions on a variety of critical issues, ranging from the ongoing civil war in Syria to the rise of Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to the situation in the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.


Mohsen Milani, the executive director of the Center for Strategic and Diplomatic Studies and chair of the conference, said the ultimate goal of the conference is two-fold: to analyze the greatest threats to the U.S. emanating from the countries in the greater Middle East and Central Asia and to identify the future strategic opportunities for the U.S. in these two volatile regions.


The event begins Tuesday with a 9 a.m. discussion with Graham Fuller, former Vice Chair of the National Intelligence Council and a former CIA station chief in Kabul. Fuller is a prolific author of books on political Islam and a frequent commentator on policy in the region.


On Wednesday at 9 a.m., journalist Steve Coll, president of the New America Foundation and a staff writer for The New Yorker, will be featured in “A Conversation about the Emerging Landscape of the Greater Middle East”. Coll was a foreign correspondent and senior editor for The Washington Post for 20 years and won the Pulitzer Prize for explanatory journalism in 1990 and again in 2005 for his book Ghost Wars.


The event will wrap up on Thursday at 1 p.m. with a discussion on key findings and future security challenges featuring Brigadier General Andrew Smith of the Australian Army, director of Central Command’s Combined Planning Group; Richard Russell, professor at NESA’s Center for Strategic Studies; and Milani.


The conference is free and open to the public. All events take place at the Patel Center for Global Solutions, 11710 USF Maple Drive. A full schedule of talks can be found at http://global.usf.edu/csds/index.php.


Vickie Chachere can be reached at 813-974-6251.