"ON THE BRINK OF WAR? Conflict and Rivalry in the Middle East"
a talk & discussion with
Ambassador David Litt (U.S. Ambassador to UAE, 1995-1998)
Ambassador Marc Sievers (U.S. Ambassador to Oman, 2016-2019)
introduced & moderated by Prof. Klaus Larres
Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at 5.30pm Location: Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library (main campus, UNC-Chapel Hill) Parking available after 5.00pm at Cobb deck & also at the Bell Tower Lot: (fee $1 for the entire evening -- have 4 quaters ready or use the parking app) Please park at the BELL TOWER LOT or Stadium Drive, as there will be a basket ball game on (Cobb Deck is closed).
No RSVP necessary - please just come along - please arrive early l
Ambassador DAVID LITT
Ambassador Litt has served as Executive Director of the Center for Stabilization and Economic Reconstruction (CSER) since February 2008. The Center designs, organizes and runs professional education programs for diverse organizational cultures that operate in crisis environments. Among CSER program participants are military, government agency, private sector, NGO, and international organization personnel. CSER is part of the Institute for Defense and Business, a 501 (c) (3) non-profit education and research institute, affiliated with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Prior to that, Ambassador Litt served for 34 years as a career U.S. diplomat, specializing in the Middle East and Southwest Asia. In 2005-2006 he was the third-ranking officer at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, with the title of Political-Military Counselor, providing policy advice to the U.S. Ambassador, and serving as liaison between the Embassy and the Multi-National Forces – Iraq.
His final assignment as a Foreign Service Officer, prior to retirement in 2008, was as the Associate Director for International Liaison at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany.
Ambassador Litt entered the Foreign Service in 1974. He served as the U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (1995-1998) and as Consul General in Dubai ten years prior. Ambassador Litt was Political Advisor to U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida (1998-2004).
While at the Department of State, Ambassador Litt served as the Director of the Office of Northern Gulf Affairs (Iran and Iraq), and also as Desk Officer for Saudi Arabia. In addition to a tour as economic/commercial officer in Kabul, Afghanistan, in the late 1970s, he served twice as political officer in Damascus, Syria. Just prior to his recent service in Baghdad, he was the State Department’s Diplomat-in-Residence at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Other assignments included Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Niamey, Niger, and as a consular officer in Palermo, Italy.
Among several other languages, he speaks Italian, French, Arabic, and Afghan-Persian (Dari). Ambassador Litt was born on Dec. 27, 1949, in Pittsburgh, PA, and grew up in Miami, FL. He received a bachelor's degree with majors in history and French from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1971, and a master's degree in International Relations from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) in Washington, D.C. in 1973. At SAIS, he specialized in European affairs and international economics. He attended Harvard University's Program for Senior Executives in National and International Security at the John F. Kennedy School of Government in 2000. He is married to the former Beatrice Ilardi, and has two children, Barbara and Giorgio.
Ambassador MARC J. SIEVERS Ambassador Marc J. Sievers retired from the Foreign Service on November 30, 2019. He served as U.S. Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman from January 2016 through November 2019. Ambassador Sievers and his embassy team significantly advanced U.S.-Omani relations during a turbulent period characterized by war in neighboring Yemen, sharp shifts in U.S. policy toward Iran, and frictions among Oman’s Gulf neighbors.
The U.S.-Arab Bilateral Chamber of Commerce declared him Goodwill Ambassador for 2019 due to his promotion of American business. On January 31, 2020 he joined the Atlantic Council as a nonresident senior fellow in the Council’s Middle East programs.
Ambassador Sievers has served with distinction in several of the Near East region’s most complex and challenging posts, including Deputy Chief of Mission and Chargé d’Affaires in Cairo from September 2011 to August 2014 and Political Minister-Counselor in Baghdad from August 2010 to August 2011.
He previously held a range of posts abroad including Counselor for Political Affairs in Tel Aviv (2006-2010), and Deputy Chief of Mission in Algiers (2003 - 2006).
In 2004, he was seconded to the Department of Defense as senior adviser to Iraq’s transitional Ministry of Foreign Affairs as part of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).
He also served as Political Counselor in Riyadh (1998-2001), Deputy Political Counselor in Ankara (1996-1998), Political Officer in Rabat (1989-1992) and in Cairo (1986-1989). In the State Department, he has served in the Bureau of Near East Affairs and the Bureau of Intelligence and Research.
Mr. Sievers received a BA from the University of Utah in 1978 and MIA from Columbia University in 1980. His awards include the State Department’s Superior Honor and Meritorious Honor awards, the Intelligence Community’s Agency Shield and Exceptional Collector awards, and the American Foreign Service Association’s Sinclaire Language Award for his study of Arabic.