Dr. Thomas Gouttierre
Dr. Thomas Gouttierre

Afghanistan expert to speak, receive alumnus award at graduation

Dr. Thomas E. Gouttierre, one of the world's leading experts on Afghanistan, will speak at the University's summer commencement Saturday (Aug. 6).

Gouttierre, who graduated from BGSU in 1962, is dean of international studies and programs at the University of Nebraska's Omaha campus and the University of Nebraska Medical Center, and director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at UNO.

In addition to speaking at BGSU's 253rd commencement exercises, he will be presented this year's Distinguished Alumnus Award. The highest honor bestowed by the University's Alumni Association, the award recognizes Bowling Green graduates for professional achievements in their chosen fields. Gouttierre will become the 46th graduate to receive the award.

He was also recognized by BGSU in 2001, when the University presented him an honorary doctorate of international relations.

Commencement exercises will begin at 9:30 a.m. on the mall in front of University Hall, weather permitting. In the case of inclement weather, the ceremonies will be held in Anderson Arena. About 1,200 students are degree candidates.

Gouttierre grew up in Maumee, where he worked in his family's pastry shop and received his master pastry-baking certificate.

Prior to assuming his present position in 1974, he spent nearly 10 years in Afghanistan, where he served as a Peace Corps volunteer, a Fulbright Fellow and executive director of the Fulbright Foundation. Throughout that time, he also coached the Afghan national basketball team.

Gouttierre has continued his involvement with Afghanistan. He served as senior political affairs officer on the United Nations peacekeeping mission to Afghanistan in 1996-97, and has participated in Fulbright programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Norway, France, India, Nepal and Germany.

During his career, he has testified on various topics related to Afghanistan, U.S.-Pakistani relations, international terrorism and human rights before the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on International Relations, as well as the British Parliament, the French National Assembly, the Norwegian Storting and the U.N. Select Committee on Human Rights. He also has conducted orientation programs for U.S. military assigned to Afghanistan.

Gouttierre speaks, reads and writes Afghan Persian (Dari), Iranian Persian (Farsi) and Tajikistani Persian. He has published numerous magazine and newspaper articles, co-authored a two-volume language textbook, and was project director for the development of the 23,000-word Dari-English Dictionary.

August 1, 2005