Seth Jones to talk about the impact of a U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan

On Thursday, Feb. 21, one of the preeminent policy advisers for U.S. involvement in Afghanistan, Seth G. Jones, will visit campus to deliver a lecture and meet with students.

Seth Jones

Jones will discuss the aftermath of a possible U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan, a subject about which he is uniquely qualified to speak. He is the author of In the Graveyard of Empires: America’s War in Afghanistan (2009) and served on the congressional panel that reviewed the FBI’s implementation of counterterrorism recommendations from the 9/11 Commission Report.

Jones comes to campus as part of the Crisis & Conflict in Historical Perspective (CCHP) co-curricular initiative. Krister Knapp, a senior lecturer in history, started CCHP as a way to support WashU students interested in pursuing a career in public policy while also bringing prominent policy experts to the St. Louis region for public forums. The program “offers historically informed analysis of global events of great importance to both the keen observer and the casual voter,” Knapp says.

"CCHP combines theory with action, or learning-based information with experience-based results”

Jones is a particularly valuable resource for students considering a career in the public sector. He is a prominent academic who also has vast experience with think tanks. Knapp hopes that Jones’ experience provides students with a glimpse into one develops the skills learned in a history classroom into praxis by “combining theory with action, or learning-based information with experience-based results.”

Historians are particularly well-suited to policy work, he explains. Policy makers pursue paths based on what has (or has not) worked in the past just as historians “study the past to supply a context for change and constancy over time.”

Students interested in joining Knapp and Jones for Friday’s catered conversation about U.S. policy in Afghanistan can learn more on the Department of History website.

The public lecture on Thursdays is an opportunity for the larger WashU and St. Louis community to hear from Dr. Jones in a more formal setting. “As a think-tank expert whose trade craft is a making recommendations to policy makers,” Knapp says, “he is well-positioned to provide the kind of analysis of the current US/Taliban negotiations for what a post-US Afghanistan might look like.”

Seth Jones will speak Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6 p.m. in Umrath Hall’s lounge. The event is free and open to the public.

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