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Middle East Meltdown: Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker to Speak at BYU

Former U.S. Ambassador Ryan C. Crocker will deliver Brigham Young University’s Wheatley Distinguished Lecture in International Affairs on Thursday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m., in 3228 of the Wilkinson Student Center. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“Ambassador Crocker is the most decorated diplomat ever to speak on the BYU campus,” Wheatley Senior Fellow in International Relations Fred Axelgard said. “He has been ambassador to six different countries [Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria, Kuwait and Lebanon], and probably the most difficult region of the world.”

Drawing from his vast experience as a Foreign Service Officer in the Middle East, Crocker will share his insight on the current challenges facing the region – including how United States foreign policy decisions have influenced affairs in the Middle East. Crocker will give context to issues regarding the rise of the Islamic State and growing refugee crisis.

“As the Middle East remains one of the most important regions of the world to United States interests, it will be important to hear what Crocker has to say,” Axelgard said. “I’m particularly interested in hearing about his involvement in relations with Iran. He is familiar with both the formal as well as the informal and pragmatic aspects of U.S. diplomacy, and is highly respected for his achievements and understanding.”

The Wheatley Institution and the Kennedy Center will co-sponsor the lecture.

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About Ryan C. Crocker

Ryan C. Crocker is Dean and Executive Professor at the George Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, where he holds the Edward and Howard Kruse Endowed Chair. He was the James Schlesinger Distinguished Visiting Professor at the University of Virginia (2012-2014), and he served as the first Kissinger Senior Fellow at Yale University (2012-2013).

In 2009, Ambassador Crocker received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced the establishment of the Ryan C. Crocker Award for Outstanding Achievement in Expeditionary Diplomacy.

In 2004, President Bush conferred on him the personal rank of Career Ambassador, the highest in the Foreign Service, having served as an U.S. ambassador six times in his career.

Born in Spokane, Washington, he grew up in an Air Force family, attending schools in Morocco, Canada and Turkey, as well as the United States. He received a B.A. in English from Whitman College (Washington).

About BYU’s Wheatley Institution

Named for Jack and Mary Lois Wheatley, the Wheatley Institution and Brigham Young University enhances the reputation and scholarship of BYU by seeking creative and powerful ideas, which lead toward practical and constructive solutions to real societal issues. The Institution broadly disseminates those motivating ideas and policy recommendations to the wider world, and is guided in all its work by enduring, bedrock values. The purpose of the Institution is to produce consequential scholarship in key topics consistent with its core mission. The institution will convene leading scholars and experts from BYU and from beyond campus to research and publish collaboratively as well as individually on these topics.

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