Robert Stephen Ford, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria

Robert Stephen Ford, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria

            Interested in foreign policy? Wish you knew more about U.S. foreign policy? If you answered “yes” to one or both of these questions, don’t miss your chance to see Robert Stephen Ford, former U.S. Ambassador to Syria, when he visits W&L tomorrow.

            Professor Seth Cantey will sit down with Ford in Stackhouse Theater at 7 p.m. According to Cantey, the event will be like a “Charlie Rose” style interview between him and Ford. Cantey said he plans to ask Ford a series of questions and follow-ups for the first 35 minutes, after which he will open the discussion for Q&A from audience members.  

            Ford served as the U.S. Ambassador to Syria from 2010 to 2014. Prior to this, he was the U.S. Ambassador to Algeria from 2006 to 2008. He also served as the Political Counselor to the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad from 2004 until 2006.

            His appointment by President Barack Obama in 2010 made Ford the first U.S. Ambassador to Syria in five years. In October of 2011, however, he was recalled from Syria due to threats to his safety. Ford officially retired from public office in 2014. Ford is also fluent in multiple languages, among them Arabic.

            During the interview, Cantey and Ford will cover a wide range of topics relating to U.S. foreign policy.

            “Things we’ll certainly hit are the threat posed by the Islamic State, U.S. relations with the Arab world (including Syria), and Iran’s role in the region,” Cantey said. “I will also likely ask about the Ambassador’s take on the recent open letter from Senate Republicans to Iran.”

            Cantey said he would also be interested to hear Ford’s thoughts on the current status of the U.S.’s relationship with Israel. In all, Cantey said it is sure to be a very interesting and enlightening discussion.

            “This is a really great chance for students and others to hear the thoughts of a very intelligent person who has worked at a high level in government,” Cantey said. “I’m hoping we get a good crowd.”

            Cantey is an assistant professor of politics at W&L, specializing in Middle Eastern studies and international relations. Cantey received his PhD from Duke University in September 2014. He began working at W&L in July 2014.

            This event was organized by the leaders of MockCon 2016. Don’t miss out on a great opportunity to learn more about politics and current events before MockCon really kicks into high gear during Spring term!