Foreign Service Officer Peter Van Buren, author of a critical account of his experience assisting in Iraq reconstruction, will speak at Penn State's School of International Affairs on April 26. The public is welcome. Van Buren will present “Post-Conflict Nation Building: Why It Isn't Easy” and be available to sign copies of the book after the presentation.
“We saw the problems. We couldn't help but see the problems. And instead of spending the money to bring clean water to children, we spent the money on Arabic language translations of American novels… When we really decided to spend some money, we spent it on a giant Potemkin chicken factory that serves no one. So the harm was what we didn't do more than what we did do,” Van Buren told NPR's Scott Simon in an interview
Van Buren has served with the Foreign Service for more than 23 years. Prior to publishing his book, he received several awards, including a Meritorious Honor Award for helping Americans after the Hanshin earthquake in Kobe and a Superior Honor Award for assisting an American rape victim in Japan. His previous assignments were in Taiwan, Japan, Korea, the UK and Hong Kong.
The event will begin at 11:15 a.m. in room 116 of the Lewis Katz Building. This event will be webcast live
and simulcast to room 106, Lewis Katz Hall in Carlisle, Pa.