PMBF Program to Host International Relations Experts

Former State Department official Owen Kirby and former U.S. Congressman Bob Clement will visit UCF in the coming weeks to participate in a series of events sponsored by the Prince Mohammad Bin Fahd Program for Strategic Research and Studies (PMBF Program). Kirby will be on campus on Thursday, March 2, while Clement will arrive on March 6.

Owen Kirby is an international political consultant with two decades of experience, specializing in political party development, public opinion polling and elections. Currently working with clients and partners in the Middle East region, Kirby served in the U.S. Department of State as a senior adviser in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, 2004-2009, and as a senior governance advisor in Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, 2009-2010. Uniquely, he served in senior posts in both the George W. Bush and Barack Obama Administrations. Most recently, he has advised political leaders in Lebanon and the Palestinian Authority.

Former State Department official Owen Kirby

Kirby will be the special guest at a, “Meet the Professionals,” event hosted by the UCF International Relations Club. During this event, Kirby will discuss some of his most memorable professional experiences, but also explain how he embarked on a career in the international relations field. IRC members will be encouraged to ask questions. Additionally, Kirby will give a guest lecture on U.S.-Arab relations, and offer insights into Arab political decision-making. He will also be special guest at a lunch with faculty members, and be interviewed by PMBF Program fellows and interns.

“Kirby has had some interesting and unique experiences in the Middle East and Central Asia. He knows the players and understands how the game is played like few others. He is a great resource for UCF students and faculty, and we are very excited about his visit,” noted PMBF Director David Dumke.

He also has held posts at the International Republican Institute (IRI), U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, and the American Business Councils of the Gulf Countries. Kirby’s articles on regional affairs have appeared in the Middle East Quarterly, Washington Times, Chicago Tribune, Providence Journal Bulletin, Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, Jerusalem Post, and Middle East Insight. In May 2006, he was awarded the Ghazi Mir Bacha Khan Medal by President Hamid Karzai and the late King Zahir Shah for services to Afghanistan. He is also a recipient of the U.S. Department of State’s Expeditionary Service and Superior Service Awards.

Former Congressman Bob Clement

A longtime friend of UCF and the PMBF Program, Bob Clement represented Tennessee in the U.S. House of Representative for 15 years. His committee assignments included the International Relations Committee. As a member of that committee, he helped shape global policy and traveled extensively, including to the Middle East.  His time in Congress included decisions to go to war with Iraq in 1991 and 2002, the September 11 terrorist attacks, and the Balkans conflicts of the 1990’s. He also was a member of the Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, the Congressional Tourism Caucus, the Education Caucus, and the centrist New Democrat Caucus that concentrated on high tech and trade issues. Appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Clement also served on the board of directors for the Tennessee Valley Authority.

“We are honored to have Congressman Clement visit UCF and talk to students, particularly now with so much debate about the direction of American politics and foreign policy. The Congressman has always been admired on a bipartisan fashion for his civility and ability to compromise and find consensus on issues domestic and foreign,” added Dumke.

The visit is also timely in that Clement’s autobiography, “Presidents, Kings, and Convicts: My Journey from the Tennessee Governor’s Residence to the Halls of Congress,” was recently published. The book chronicles the Congressman’s life from the son of one of Tennessee’s most revered governors to service in Congress – with lots of memorable adventures along the way. At UCF, Clement will give a guest lecture on the congressional role in foreign policy, and will be the featured guest at a lunch with representatives from UCF student organizations. The lunch discussion will focus on the state of American politics. He will also be a guest on the WUCF-TV show “Global Perspectives,” and participate in a “Congress to Campus Program” hosted by the Lou Frey Institute.

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