RPCV Thomas Gouttierre is Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska

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Thomas Gouttierre went to Afghanistan in 1964 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He returned to the United States in 1967 and earned a master’s degree in Islamic Studies at Indiana University. In 1969 he went back to Afghanistan as a Fulbright Scholar. He stayed on to work for the Fulbright Foundation’s Afghan-American Education Commission after the conclusion of his two-year fellowship. In 1974 Gouttierre became director of the Center of Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which has become the leading institution for Afghan studies in this country. Gouttierre has testified on the Afghan War before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations and the U.S.-Russian Task Force on Regional Conflicts. He also has appeared before committees of the British Parliament, the French National Assembly and the Norwegian Sorting and the United Nations.

Thomas Gouttierre went to Afghanistan in 1964 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He returned to the United States in 1967 and earned a master’s degree in Islamic Studies at Indiana University. In 1969 he went back to Afghanistan as a Fulbright Scholar. He stayed on to work for the Fulbright Foundation’s Afghan-American Education Commission after the conclusion of his two-year fellowship. In 1974 Gouttierre became director of the Center of Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which has become the leading institution for Afghan studies in this country. Gouttierre has testified on the Afghan War before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations and the U.S.-Russian Task Force on Regional Conflicts. He also has appeared before committees of the British Parliament, the French National Assembly and the Norwegian Sorting and the United Nations.

For 33 years, the UNO Center for Afghanistan Studies has been the most comprehensive U.S. resource center on that country, devoted mostly to exchanges of students and educators and improving educational opportunities in Afghanistan. In the early 1970s, Afghanistan seemed to appeal only to UNO scholars trying to find a niche for international studies. They were responding to a request by then-Chancellor Ronald Roskens to bring an international flavor to the campus on Dodge Street. But why Afghanistan, over other nations around the globe? Because Christian L. Jung, who was on the UNO geography/geology faculty, was a former Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan. Because the Fulbright Foundation in 1972 had a director in Afghanistan -- Thomas Gouttierre -- who knew Jung's father and was encouraged to help UNO with an educational exchange. Because the younger Jung died in 1974 and Gouttierre was recruited to leave Kabul and replace Jung as head of the new center. That same year, UNO created a Department of International Studies, and Gouttierre became dean. Since then, the department has been awarded $80 million in federal grants, more than $60 million of that to the Afghan studies center.

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2000

2000: Thomas Gouttierre went to Afghanistan in 1964 as a Peace Corps volunteer

Gouttierre went to Afghanistan in 1964 as a Peace Corps volunteer. He returned to the United States in 1967 and earned a master’s degree in Islamic Studies at Indiana University. In 1969 he went back to Afghanistan as a Fulbright Scholar. He stayed on to work for the Fulbright Foundation’s Afghan-American Education Commission after the conclusion of his two-year fellowship. In 1974 Gouttierre became director of the Center of Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, which has become the leading institution for Afghan studies in this country. Gouttierre has testified on the Afghan War before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations and the U.S.-Russian Task Force on Regional Conflicts. He also has appeared before committees of the British Parliament, the French National Assembly and the Norwegian Sorting and the United Nations. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: BGSU. "Thomas Gouttierre Went To Afghanistan In 1964 As A Peace Corps Volunteer" June 29, 2000.


2001

2001: For facts on Taliban, world looks to RPCV Thomas Gouttierre in Omaha

His war is just beginning. His arsenal is in-depth, firsthand knowledge of Osama bin Laden, the Taliban and Afghanistan. His battlefield is his desk at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, where he is dean of International Studies and Programs. From it he gives media interviews - more than 250 since the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. His assistant slides the office door open, attempting to make her interruption soundless so as not to disturb a phone interview with a Japanese newspaper reporter or the television reporter who is unfolding camera equipment. She mouths "the State Department" as she hands Gouttierre a piece of paper - Washington needs to know whether he is familiar with any of the names on the list. A former United Nations specialist, this son of a Midwestern baker is among the most sought out information sources since the attacks. "We are at war now," Gouttierre said. "I'm too old to fight. But I can help on the information side, on the education side." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Kansas City Star. "Another Story About Rpcv Thomas E. Gouttierre Who Is Considered One Of The Nation's Leading Experts On The Taliban." September 30, 2001.


2001: RPCV Expert on Taliban Thomas Gouttierre comments on Afghan Situation

While Afghans are celebrating the Taliban's retreat, many worry as they recall past atrocities by groups making up the Northern Alliance. "We need to reassure the people of Kabul," said Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. "We need to reinforce that this wasn't just to restore the Northern Alliance to power." Tuesday's capture of the capital heightened a concern that Tajuddin Millatmal has had ever since U.S. forces started supporting the Northern Alliance. "It was their atrocities that people were so tired of that they welcomed the Taliban," said Millatmal, an Afghan physician who fled his homeland in 1980 and remains involved in the country's politics. President Bush showed his concern by calling on the Northern Alliance not to capture Kabul before a government was ready. But when the Taliban forces retreated from the capital Tuesday, joyful Northern Alliance troops entered without a fight. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World Herald. "November 14 - Omaha World Herald: Rpcv Expert On Taliban Comments On Afghan Situation" November 19, 2001.


2001: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre has close ties to Hamid Karzai, Afghan Leader chosen to head the Provisional Government

Hamid Karzai, the Pashtun tribal leader chosen to head the provisional government, visited the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1999 and was instrumental in selecting participants for a UNO conference to discuss a post-Taliban government. "I can't think of a better guy right now to be the head of this," said Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Center for Afghanistan Studies. He said he considers Karzai "among my very closest Afghan friends." Karzai is leading Pashtun forces fighting the Taliban near Kandahar. His Cabinet will take over power in Afghanistan from the triumphant Northern Alliance on Dec. 22. The deal also asks the United Nations to authorize an international force to provide security in the capital, Kabul, and eventually other areas. Afghan leaders applauded and embraced Wednesday as they signed the pact creating the temporary administration for their war-ravaged nation. The choosing of a post-Taliban government to lead Afghanistan for the next six months was the result of nine days of furious negotiating and enormous international pressure on the Northern Alliance and three other Afghan factions meeting near Bonn. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald. "Read The Article From The Omaha World-Herald On Rpcv Thomas Gouttierre And His Ties To Several People Who Have Been Named At Serve On Afghanistan's Interim Cabinet At:" December 6, 2001.


2001: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre has ties to several named to serve on Afghanistan's interim cabinet

Afghan delegates planning the provisional government at a meeting in Bonn, Germany, invited Abdul Salaam Azimi, a research associate at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, to be education minister. Azimi, former president of Kabul University, said he did not reject the position, but suggested alternate candidates when he received a call from Bonn, Germany, to his Omaha home. Later Wednesday, Ghulam Muhammad Yailaqi was named education minister. Azimi would not comment further. Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Center for Afghanistan Studies, said Azimi came to Omaha as a refugee in the 1980s and was chief of UNO's education projects in Afghanistan. He became a U.S. citizen in 1990. If he had accepted the appointment, Gouttierre said, "there couldn't be a better, more qualified person for the position." UNO has ties to several people who did accept positions in the interim cabinet. Dr. Abdullah, the foreign affairs minister, visited UNO in 1999 or 2000, Gouttierre said. "He's the right guy for that job." Sima Samar, one of two women in the provisional cabinet, will be minister of foreign affairs and a vice chairwoman. She fled Afghanistan after the Soviet invasion in 1979 and worked as a doctor in a refugee camp in Pakistan, where she opened a hospital in 1987. She also ran schools in rural Afghanistan for more than 17,400 students as well as a school for refugee girls in Quetta, Pakistan. Literacy programs established by her organization were accompanied by distribution of food aid and information on hygiene and family planning. "She's great," Gouttierre said. "We were helping out her schools at one time." After the severe persecution of women under the Taliban, "that's amazing to have these two women in the cabinet," he said. "That's a huge step forward." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald. "Read The Article From The Omaha World-Herald On Rpcv Thomas Gouttierre And His Ties To Several People Who Have Been Named At Serve On Afghanistan's Interim Cabinet At:" December 6, 2001.


2002

2002: Afghanistan RPCV Thomas Gouttierre says Kabul's kids will soon be spelling 'Omaha'

Thomas Gouttierre acknowledges that his latest project is "not a walk in the park by any stretch." As dean of international studies and programs at the University of Nebraska (Omaha), Gouttierre joined forces last month with the U.S. Agency for International Development in a massive undertaking: printing enough textbooks- somewhere between 4 million and 5 million-in time for the scheduled reopening of schools in Afghanistan on March 23. That project, called ARRENA, or America's Rapid Response to Education Needs in Afghanistan, will provide textbooks in both the Dari and Pashtu languages to Afghan students in all subjects for grades K-12. The project is a major part of international efforts to get schools ready for the school year in a country where fighting has recently intensified, the interim government remains on shaky ground, and many schools lack even the most basic supplies and infrastructure, such as toilets and heat. Gouttierre and his university have a long history in the country. Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies-the only one of its kind in the United States-was started in 1973, and from 1986 to 1994, the center received more than $50 million in grants from U.S. AID for education projects in Afghanistan. During those years, about 8,800 Afghan teachers were trained and 13 million textbooks were printed and distributed. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: National Journal. "Kabul's Kids Will Soon Be Spelling 'Omaha'" March 30, 2002.


2002: Afghanistan RPCV Thomas Gouttierre says U.S. should focus on Afghanistan, not Iraq

The United States should keep its focus on rebuilding Afghanistan rather than taking on Iraq in a war, according to an Afghan expert who spoke to McHenry County College students, staff and area residents Wednesday. "We are at a crossroads right now with what we are going to do with Afghanistan," said Thomas Gouttierre, keynote speaker Wednesday morning at the college's ABC Breakfast Series. Gouttierre serves as dean of International Studies and director of the Center for Afghan Studies at the University of Nebraska in Omaha. He has spent time in Afghanistan working for the Peace Corps and with the United Nations studying Osama bin Laden. After the speech, Gouttierre said he believes bin Laden is dead. Gouttierre speculated on the al-Qaida's leader's death, citing bin Laden's need for kidney dialysis and his back problems. Hiding from the public eye as long as he has likely would exacerbate those problems, he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Chicago Daily Herald. "U.s. Should Focus On Afghanistan, Not Iraq, Scholar Argues" September 26, 2002.


2003

2003: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre helps Cities in Afghanistan and Nebraska Forge "Sister Cities" Partnership

Forging links between U.S. and Afghan citizens is nothing new for Gouttierre, or for his university, where he also serves as director of its Center for Afghanistan Studies. One of the first things he did upon coming to Nebraska in 1974 was to establish a sister universities tie between UNO and Kabul University. Before that, he had lived in Afghanistan for almost a decade, first as a Peace Corps volunteer, then as a Fulbright Fellow and finally as executive director of the Fulbright Foundation's programs there. Indeed, Goutierre says, plans to link the two cities were in progress as early as the late 1970s, but then "the Communist coup took place and derailed that." With the Communist period followed by the rule of the Taliban, "we didn't have a chance to revisit that again until the Karzai government was established" after the Taliban were routed at the end of in 2001, he notes. Gouttierre said the new opportunity developed as the result of the U.S. antiterrorist campaign in Afghanistan following in the wake of the deadly September 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington. "There are, I guess, some positive things that may develop from that horrendous event," he said. Gouttierre -- and Nebraska -- have been quick to seize the opportunity to strengthen ties. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: U.S. Department of State. "Cities In Afghanistan And Nebraska Forge "Sister Cities" Partnership" February 3, 2003.


2004

2004: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre testifies to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on "Afghanistan – Continuing Challenges"

The continuing security, political, and economic challenges to the reconstruction of Afghanistan remain formidable. The most critical is security. It negatively affects all other factors. The lack of security is perhaps the only factor that might ensure a return of a stateless society to Afghanistan. The three primary security threats are terrorists, drug lords, and war lords. These are holdovers, protagonists, and allies from the period of protracted civil war in Afghanistan. Though routed out of their strongholds and camps after 9/11, replenished and reorganized elements of Al Qaida and the Taliban remain at large and constitute a threat, both real and symbolic, to the overall reconstruction effort. They gain financial support from drug interests. These elements threaten Afghan teachers, students, election workers and other government workers, even shopowners and farmers. They threaten them with death or other bodily harm if they teach, go to school, register to vote or assist the election process, or appear to side with the government. International assistance workers and military forces are also threatened; some have been killed. The continuing capacity of these terrorists to intimidate slows and even terminates reconstruction efforts. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: US Senate. "Testimony Of Thomas E. Gouttierre Dean, International Studies And Programs Director, Center For Afghanistan Studies Before The Senate Committee On Foreign Relations" May 12, 2004.


2004: Schneider and Gouttierre say Terrorists put progress at risk in Afghanistan

Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, said the al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists who were routed following the Sept. 11 attack on the United States have been "replenished and reorganized." "The continuing capacity of these terrorists to intimidate slows and even terminates reconstruction efforts," he said. Gouttierre and Schneider testified last week at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on reconstruction. "Despite many successes on the ground, the prospect that we could fail in Afghanistan is very real," said Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., chairman of the committee. "Too little assistance to Afghanistan has been provided, and often, it has come too late to address the daunting needs of that country." Gouttierre and other experts told the committee that Afghanistan's security faces a threefold threat from resurgent terrorists, from warlords who control especially the rural areas and from drug lords whose poppy crop accounts for half of the country's gross domestic product. Men who want legitimate jobs "are vulnerable to those who would employ them away from the process of reconstruction into the militias of warlords and the cultivation of poppies," Gouttierre said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World Herald. "Terrorists Put Progress At Risk In Afghanistan" May 16, 2004.


2004: When Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, came to Scottsbluff in February 2002 to speak at Western Nebraska Community College, the little group began to feel a kinship with those distant people

When Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, came to Scottsbluff in February 2002 to speak at Western Nebraska Community College, the little group began to feel a kinship with those distant people. Maybe, members thought, the answer was as simple as friendship. They focused on Bamiyan as a possible Sister City because they saw similarities to Nebraska's Panhandle. Both are rural areas, high and dry country where farmers struggle to grow crops in stingy soil. When UNO brought three groups of Afghan teachers to Nebraska starting in 2002, two of the three groups visiting Scottsbluff included teachers from Bamiyan. Eventually, Bamiyan and Scottsbluff-Gering formally established ties through Sister Cities International. Mohammad Rahim Aliyar, governor of Bamiyan province, visited Scottsbluff in February. Security concerns postponed initial plans for a Scottsbluff delegation to visit Bamiyan. Boeckner, Marilyn and Paul Phillips, Jim Merrigan and Pam Cooper told about this month's journey and the Sister City efforts before they left and in e-mails from Kabul last week after their visit to Bamiyan and in phone calls to Kabul. "The people here are tough because they've been through hell, yet open, friendly and optimistic," said Merrigan, a Scottsbluff real estate agent. The group left June 7, arriving in Kabul nearly 40 hours later. Gouttierre, who already was in Afghanistan, accompanied the five western Nebraskans on their trip from Kabul to Bamiyan, along with Dr. Ward Chambers of the University of Nebraska Medical Center. The 120-mile trip in two SUVs took 11 hours. Aliyar sent a truck with four armed police. The Americans talked of being greeted by most of the men of a village in one stop, and of singing a Dari song they had practiced. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World Herald. "Brotherly Love From Nebraska Sister City" June 20, 2004.


2004: RPCV Thomas E. Gouttierre says of Afghan President Hamid Karzai "The eminent power right now is our military, and his central government is competing with the warlords... . Given the conditions, he's done a remarkable job."

In the 21/2 years since Karzai took power, his central government has established its authority slowly in Kabul but exercises little or no control outside the capital, where warlords maintain order in their fiefdoms, often with tacit U.S. support in the absence of a national army. Drug trafficking has become rampant, sometimes tied to the warlords. The Taliban has reasserted control in part of the country. Few people believe conditions exist for free and fair elections, which the Bush administration wants to see take place this year. "He hasn't really been in control," said Thomas E. Gouttierre, a friend of Karzai and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. "The eminent power right now is our military, and his central government is competing with the warlords... . Given the conditions, he's done a remarkable job." The Afghan Northern Alliance, backed by U.S.-led forces, toppled the Taliban from power in 2001, paving the way for Karzai to become president. There have been improvements since then. The number of children in school has quadrupled to four million. The average daily working wage has more than doubled, from $2.70 to $6.25. And the Finance Ministry has begun demanding that regional leaders hand over the taxes they have collected. Americans have built a modern roadway to replace a bombed-out highway linking Kabul and Kandahar - albeit at three times the $80 million budgeted cost. But for every step forward, it seems a new problem surfaces, and, in some dispiriting instances, old problems have resprouted worse than before the war. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Philadelphia Inquirer. "Karzai, Lacking Support, Struggles To Fulfill Vision" July 4, 2004.


2004: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently: "Though routed out of their strongholds and camps after 9/11, replenished and reorganized elements of Al Qaida and the Taliban remain at large and constitute a threat, both real and symbolic, to the overall reconstruction effort"

As Thomas Gouttierre, dean of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska (one of this nation's leading experts on Afghanistan), told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee recently: "Though routed out of their strongholds and camps after 9/11, replenished and reorganized elements of Al Qaida and the Taliban remain at large and constitute a threat, both real and symbolic, to the overall reconstruction effort. They gain financial support from drug interests. They threaten them with death or other bodily harm if they teach, go to school, register to vote or assist the election process, or appear to side with the government." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: WashingtonTimes. "Afghanistan's Critical Election" October 8, 2004.


2004: "This election had two major messages. First, Afghans believe they have a right to participate in their government, that it's their legacy after 30 years of violence," said Thomas E. Gouttierre, who just returned from Kabul and directs the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies. "The results will also carry a message to jihadis: Thanks for what you did against the Soviets, but we want to turn a new page and have another group of leaders for our future."

"This election had two major messages. First, Afghans believe they have a right to participate in their government, that it's their legacy after 30 years of violence," said Thomas E. Gouttierre, who just returned from Kabul and directs the University of Nebraska's Center for Afghanistan Studies. "The results will also carry a message to jihadis: Thanks for what you did against the Soviets, but we want to turn a new page and have another group of leaders for our future." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Washington Post. "Election Touted As Model For Iraq -- To A Point" October 12, 2004.


2004: Thomas Gouttierre offers other view of Afghanistan - President Bush's assertion that 75 percent of al-Qaida leadership has been eliminated is not true, he said. "They may have eliminated 75 percent of the original (organization), but now it has metastasized, it's bigger, it's all over the world."

Thomas Gouttierre knew Afghanistan before it made headlines in America's newspapers. Before terrorists crashed into Americans' consciousness on Sept. 11, 2001, and then hid in the ancient country's rugged mountains. Before people talked of the Taliban and al-Qaida and Osama bin Laden over their breakfast cereal. He knew its history and its culture, the richness of the Persian language and how people created a wealth of beautiful poetry out of it. Poems like "The Children of Adam," which he read Saturday to participants in the fourth annual Nebraska International Multicultural Exchange Conference at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. He did it to illustrate the rich culture of a country where he lived for 10 years, working as a Peace Corps volunteer. He read it because of its message. "What an excellent way to explain how important we all are to each other," said the dean of UNO's International Studies and Programs. And what an excellent way to show this group, sitting in the expansive auditorium in UNL's student union, that the essence of Afghanistan goes way beyond the headlines. "This country that we see in the headlines today, there's much, much more to it," he said. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Lincoln Journal Sta. "Expert Offers Other View Of Afghanistan" November 6, 2004.


2005

2005: Centenial Dinner will feature 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

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. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Southwest Nebraska News. "Rotary Dinner To Feature Afghanistan Scholar" February 21, 2005.


2005: Thomas Gouttierre says: People of Afghanistan want U.S. Involvement

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.” Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Southwest Nebraska News. "Gouttierre: People Of Afghanistan Want U.s. Involvement" February 27, 2005.


2005: A one-page information sheet prepared by Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Afghanistan Studies center, said that the center is proud of its record in assisting Afghans to rebuild their education sector

The UNO center was awarded three major contracts by the United States Agency for International Development covering 1974-1978, 1986-1994 and 2002-2004, Hawks said in the letter. More than 50 faculty and staff members at UNO and UNL worked on the projects, under which more than 30 million textbooks were produced for Afghanistan children and adults, Hawks said. At Friday's meeting, officials distributed a one-page information sheet that was prepared by Thomas Gouttierre, director of UNO's Afghanistan Studies center, according to NU administration official Dara Troutman. The unsigned statement said that the center is proud of its record in assisting Afghans to rebuild their education sector. The statement does not address Olson's claims, but instead lists what are described as highlights of the center's work, including the development of maps, writing chapters for encyclopedias on Afghanistan and making thousands of appearances to talk about the country. Gouttierre was out of the office Friday and did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Olson's appearance before the board is the latest in a series of communications Nebraskans for Peace has had with the university related to the Afghan Studies program dating back to January. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Casper Star Tribune. "Peace Group: Uno Textbooks Distributed In Afghanistan Contributed To Terrorism" April 15, 2005.


2005: The majority of the controversial textbooks were written to help Afghan refugees in Pakistan educate their children while the Soviet Union occupied their country, Thomas Gouttierre said

Turn to the back cover of one of several million of these books, published in the late 1980s, and see a familiar logo – that of the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Paul Olson, a Nebraskans for Peace member and University of Nebraska-Lincoln English professor, uses the words “propaganda,” “covert” “operations,” “terrorism” and “violence-and-jihad-promoting” when describing these textbooks. At the University of Nebraska Board of Regents’ meeting on Friday, Olson said these textbooks were used to educate grade-school children and UNO’s involvement indicates a lack of ethics. “We provided the violence-laden propaganda to the Taliban-era Afghan children,” Olson said. “The 9/11 terrorists emerged from this context.” Nebraskans for Peace, a statewide peace group, has asked the board to conduct an investigation of these textbooks, develop a university-wide ethics policy and strengthen existing policies on the matter. Regent Howard Hawks of Omaha, chairman of the board, said the center followed university policy at the time, and there is no need to change those policies now. Thomas Gouttierre has been the director of the UNO Center for Afghan Studies since 1974 and said historical context has to be taken into consideration when looking at these textbooks. “While their intentions may be good,” he said in a phone interview, “their interpretation of history is out of context.” Since 1974, the center has received three contracts from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to help develop education in Afghanistan. The most controversial books were produced at UNO between 1986 and 1989, using USAID’s funds and rules – which said all content of the textbooks was left up to the Afghans. “We were told explicitly that we were not to have any input into the content,” he said, adding that the center has never denied that several of these books were militantly anti-Soviet. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Daily Nebraskan. "Controversial Textbook Topics Oked By Uno" April 20, 2005.


2005: Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, is coming to Nebraska in late May. The Afghan president, a longtime U.S. ally and a one-time student of Thomas Gouttierre, the director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Center for Afghanistan Studies, will receive an honorary degree from UNO, Gouttierre said

Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, is coming to Nebraska in late May. The Afghan president, a longtime U.S. ally and a one-time student of Thomas Gouttierre, the director of the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Center for Afghanistan Studies, will receive an honorary degree from UNO, Gouttierre said Tuesday. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Lincoln Journal Star. "Afghanistan President To Visit Nebraska" May 4, 2005.


2005: Thomas Gouttierre says believes there is still reason to be positive about the security situation in Afghanistan, mostly because three and a half years after the Taliban regime was brought down, things are finally getting back to normal.

Gouttierre, who heads the Centre for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska, believes there is still reason to be positive about the security situation, mostly because three and a half years after the Taliban regime was brought down, things are finally getting back to normal. "People are busy about their work and business, they want to provide for their families and get things on track again and that's all most people are concerned about in Afghanistan, and that, in some ways, is the most important asset...just the restoration of normality has introduced discipline to the society," he told Adnkronos International (AKI). Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Aki. "Afghanistan: Kidnap Damaging To The Country's Confidence, Says Expert" May 19, 2005.


2005: "The fact is, in Afghanistan the name 'Nebraska' is very well known," said Thomas Gouttierre, who is of Belgian ancestry but was introduced to Afghanistan after serving there as a Peace Corps volunteer

For 33 years, the UNO Center for Afghanistan Studies has been the most comprehensive U.S. resource center on that country, devoted mostly to exchanges of students and educators and improving educational opportunities in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai and 24 Afghan officials will arrive today and leave Wednesday night after Karzai is awarded an honorary UNO degree. "This makes a statement about how much President Karzai and the people of Afghanistan respect our state because of their relationship with the UNO Afghanistan Study Center," said Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb. Karzai's visit is especially timely for the UNO center, which is facing new challenges. The center has been criticized by a UNO professor for not being more academically oriented or offering courses on Afghanistan. A peace group also repeatedly has criticized the program for publishing Afghan textbooks that included military themes. In addition, as Afghanistan has risen in worldwide prominence, other institutions have emerged to compete with UNO for federal grants. But in the early 1970s, Afghanistan seemed to appeal only to UNO scholars trying to find a niche for international studies. They were responding to a request by then-Chancellor Ronald Roskens to bring an international flavor to the campus on Dodge Street. But why Afghanistan, over other nations around the globe? Because Christian L. Jung, who was on the UNO geography/geology faculty, was a former Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan. Because the Fulbright Foundation in 1972 had a director in Afghanistan -- Thomas Gouttierre -- who knew Jung's father and was encouraged to help UNO with an educational exchange. Because the younger Jung died in 1974 and Gouttierre was recruited to leave Kabul and replace Jung as head of the new center. That same year, UNO created a Department of International Studies, and Gouttierre became dean. Since then, the department has been awarded $80 million in federal grants, more than $60 million of that to the Afghan studies center. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald. "Afghans Feel A Kinship With Omahaa Uno Program Began Focusing On Afghanistan In 1972, When The Country Was "Not On The Radar."Uno And Afghanistan Timeline" May 24, 2005.


2005: Because of Dr. Thomas Gouttierre, who founded the Center for Afghan Studies at UNO, Nebraska has ties with Afghanistan that stretch back to a more peaceful and prosperous era in the early 1970s

Afghanistan has a chance to return to agricultural productivity. Thanks to U.S. and international intervention that drove the Taliban from power and created the conditions for a successful election approved by international observers, Afghanistan is on the road to stability. But, as the visit this week to Nebraska by Afghan President Hamid Karzai made clear, the country still has a long distance to travel to sufficiency and security. Struggling to survive, Afghan farmers have returned to raising poppies, which can be sold for the illegal production of opium. They need to find better options. The United States can help by sharing resources and the wealth of agricultural knowledge found in places such as Nebraska. Because of Dr. Thomas Gouttierre, who founded the Center for Afghan Studies at UNO, Nebraska has ties with Afghanistan that stretch back to a more peaceful and prosperous era in the early 1970s. Then the former Soviet Union invaded. The U.S. backed rebels, and finally the Soviets withdrew. But in an error that became painfully obvious in retrospect, the U.S. government lost interest in Afghanistan. Under the Taliban it became a training ground for terrorists who launched the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. America should learn from that mistake. The risk is that the United States will be distracted by other pressing problems and once again turn its back on Afghanistan now that the immediate threat has been eliminated. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Lincoln Journal Star. "Nebraska Can Help Afghans" May 27, 2005.


2005: Hamid Karzai's visit was prompted by a long-standing relationship with Thomas Gouttierre and as part of a weeklong tour of the United States, which also included stops in Boston and Washington D.C.

On Wednesday, May 25, inside of an unassuming aircraft hangar and under the watchful eyes of several dozen Secret Service agents, Hamid Karzai, the first democratically elected president of Afghanistan, began his daylong tour of the Omaha area. He spoke to about 300 airmen at Offutt Air Force Base at 9:15 a.m. before moving on to the Harry Knobbe Farm and Feedyards in West Point and then to UNO to receive an honorary Doctorate of Letters. At UNO, Karzai viewed the Arthur and Daisy Paul Afghanistan Collection and the Luke Powell Photographic Collection in the University Library and then received his degree from the university in a ceremony at the Strauss Performing Arts Center. Several members of UNO faculty and administration including UNO Faculty Senate President Hollis Glaser, Thomas Gouttierre, and Chancellor Nancy Belck attended the Conferral of Degrees ceremony. UNO Student President/Regent Elizabeth Kraemer, University of Nebraska President James B. Milliken, Mayor Mike Fahey and Lt. Gov. Rick Sheehy were also in attendance. During her opening statements, Belck said, "This is, indeed, an extraordinary day for the state of Nebraska, the city of Omaha and the University of Nebraska. It is a day we have long awaited." Karzai's visit was prompted by a long-standing relationship with Gouttierre and as part of a weeklong tour of the United States, which also included stops in Boston and Washington D.C. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Gateway. "Uno, Omaha Welcome Afghan President Hamid Karzai" June 7, 2005.


2005: RPCV Thomas Gouttierre says Afghan militants may be desperate to interfere with the upcoming elections because they know they could not hope to win any seats in the national assembly

Much of the fighting has been along Afghanistan's rugged border with Pakistan, including the battle that downed the helicopter Tuesday. The area is home to anti-American terrorists and drug traffickers who want the Afghan government to fail, said Thomas Gouttierre, director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. Drug traffickers and insurgents have joined forces, Gouttierre said, "because they recognize that a stabilized Afghanistan is not in their interest." Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: USA Today. "U.s. Sees Fighting Rekindled In Afghanistan" June 29, 2005.


2005: Gouttierre explains roots of terrorism in Afghanistan

"Osama Bin Laden trained the Arabs living in Afghanistan in terrorism," Gouttierre said, "they first targeted the Saudi monarchy and then the U.S. because they were somehow connected." According to Gouttierre, Bin Laden believes that the U.S. is on a crusade to undermine Islam. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Current . "Speaker Explains Roots Of Terrorism In Afghanistan" November 14, 2005.


2006

2006: Thomas Gouttierre says Most Indian students return to India

The idea that most students from India stay in the United States to live and work is no longer true, says Thomas Gouttierre, dean of international studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: TMCnet. "Fewer Students From India Make U.s. Home" January 25, 2006.


2006: Thomas Gouttierre faces undisclosed action following slapping accusation

After an investigation, the university administration stated that, since there were grounds for disciplinary action, Gouttierre would face undisclosed actions. Being removed from office was not one of them. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Gateway. "Dean Faces Undisclosed Action Following Slapping Accusation" August 22, 2006.


2007

2007: Dr. Thomas Gouttierre will be visiting scholar at the Václav Havel Civil Society Symposium

He speaks and writes Afghan Persian, Iranian Persian and Tajikistani Persian, and also has studied Arabic, French, German, Latin, Russian and Spanish. He was the project director of the development of the Dari-English Dictionary, and his publications include many articles on Afghanistan culture and a two-volume language textbook, “Dari for Foreigners.” Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: University of St. Thomas. "Leading Expert On Afghanistan Will Be Visiting Scholar Here Starting Oct. 6" September 21, 2007.


2007: A fellow named Thomas Gouttierre is speaking in our community this week. He is a go-to expert on Afghanistan whose life should someday be a major motion picture.

Gouttierre and his center have raised eyebrows for their ties to U.S. government agencies and to a private oil company that wanted to build a pipeline in Afghanistan. The State Department asks him for advice and the U.N. hired him for its peacekeeping mission in the mid-1990s. (One of his tasks was to find Osama bin Laden, then barely on the radar as a dangerous jihadist. He says he determined his location within a few hours.) He once told a reporter for the Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star that his sister doesn't believe him when he swears he's not a CIA agent. After 9/11, Gouttierre's visibility as an Afghanistan expert put the Omaha campus (the one where the famed Cornhuskers don't play) on the map. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Pioneer Press. "Inviting Progress" October 11, 2007.


2007: Thomas Gouttierre to to talk about democracy in Afghanistan in Texas A&M

"It is important that students are informed on their government's involvement abroad," Gunter said. "Mr. Gouttierre is considered by many to be the leading expert on Afghanistan, and his hands-on experience will allow students to develop informed opinions about the current situation there." Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: The Batt. "Mideast Expert To Lecture In Msc" November 5, 2007.


2007: Thomas Gouttierre says Benazir Bhutto will be remembered as the first woman to lead a Muslim country and a beloved symbol of democracy and modernization to many Pakistanis

Benazir Bhutto will be remembered as the first woman to lead a Muslim country and a beloved symbol of democracy and modernization to many Pakistanis, said Thomas Gouttierre, dean of international studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha and a Central Asia expert. She also will be remembered for her checkered record as prime minister, Gouttierre said, during which she and her husband were accused of stealing more than a billion dollars from the government. Members of Bhutto's Cabinet also quietly aligned with extremists like the Taliban during her second term as prime minister, Gouttierre said. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: Omaha World-Herald . "Expert At Uno Sees A Complicated Future For Pakistan" December 27, 2007.


2008

2008: The main force behind the University of Nebraska at Omaha's Afghan Studies program is its director, Thomas Gouttierre, whose fascination with Afghanistan started when he was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the mid-1960's

"Unlike the days when I was a Peace Corps volunteer in Afghanistan, we can call people on cell phones, use email and we have excellent communication," said Thomas Gouttierre. Gouttierre and his staff in Omaha are working long-distance to improve education in Afghanistan. "What we are doing is trying to provide in-service training to teachers so that there is a kind of standard body of teaching pedagogy that each teacher, regardless of his or her training, is following," he said. Although Gouttierre visits Afghanistan every year, he says the Taliban guerrillas have made it too dangerous for U.S. students to work there. He says the Taliban threaten Afghans on a regular basis in some border areas. "They are able to move back and forth across the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan and into villages and pass out night letters suggesting to people that 'we are watching you and if your daughters go to school or your wife teaches school or you work with the Americans, we are going to get you and we are going to get your family," said Gouttierre. Gouttierre says he thinks the vast majority of Afghans have faith in U.S. efforts to help their country, but they are made uneasy by the fact that Osama bin Laden and others involved in the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 remain free. Thomas Gouttierre, dean of International Studies and Programs and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska-Omaha, served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Afghanistan in the 1960's. Click this link to read more.

  • Original Source: VOA. "University Of Nebraska At Omaha Supports Afghanistan Recovery" July 16, 2008.

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