Prior registrations will be automatically enrolled for the new date. Please call Ervin Davis (207-282-8096) or email (ervdavis@maine.rr.com) if there are any questions. Thanks for your continued interest in and support of MIT Club of Maine events.

Untangling the Afghanistan “Briar Patch”
Special Guest
Charles F. Dunbar
U.S. State Department (ret)
Former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan

Tuesday, February 28, 2017  |  11:30 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
The Woodlands Country Club, Falmouth, ME
39 Woods Rd, Falmouth, ME 04105



Charles F. Dunbar

For many of us, the term “Briar Patch” conjures childhood memories of a talking rabbit, an equally chatty fox and other anthropomorphic animals, as brought to life by Beatrix Potter, Thornton W. Burgess and Walt Disney, among others. More recently it has come to mean situations where seemingly intractable problems exist. Today, it aptly describes conditions in the rugged, dangerous, hauntingly beautiful place that is Afghanistan.

To illuminate this topic, the MIT Club of Maine is proud to present a lecture by a man whose expertise on Afghanistan and the Middle East is both wide and deep. He is Charles F. Dunbar, a former U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan who now lives in Maine. Before his retirement in 1993, he spent eight years of his 32-year State Department career working in Afghanistan. Prior to that, he was chargé d’affaires in Kabul (1981-83), Ambassador to Qatar (1983-85), and Ambassador to Yemen (1988-91) as well as having served in earlier postings in Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. After leaving the State Department, Mr. Dunbar became UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s Special Representative in Western Sahara (1997-99), President of the Cleveland Council on World Affairs (1993-2001), and taught at Simmons College (2001-04) and Boston University (2004-15). He now teaches at the Midcoast Senior College in Brunswick.

As our speaker describes it, Afghanistan’s present condition and future prospects are grim. Since the 1973 overthrow of its king and his “experiment in democracy,” the country has been at civil war, occupied by the USSR in the 1980s, and in varying degrees dominated by a US-led, UN-sponsored coalition for the past 15 years. Fomented by Pakistan, funded by Saudi Arabia and some of its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members, and animated by the Taliban, conflict continues in Afghanistan with no end in sight.

Today, Afghanistan has been at war for 38 years, and the prospects are for more of the same. On the home front, the government is beset by the perennial Taliban insurgency, massive corruption, and the flight of its people as refugees. Mr. Dunbar observes that this leaves the U.S. stuck in an Afghanistan “briar patch” where it has periodically found itself since 1981, with no end in sight for what it used to call “the good war.” As can be seen from his resume, he is well placed to explore possible outcomes.

Please join us for this very exciting first Club event of 2017! We’ll be meeting for lunch on Tuesday, February 28th, from 11:30 A.M. to 2:30 P.M. at The Woodlands Country Club in Falmouth. Cost is $25 per person for our program and an excellent buffet lunch. There will be cash bar service available at 11:30 A.M. You can register online with a credit card at the Register Online page above, or you can pay by check by clicking on the Mail In Check page for a printable registration form. The Woodlands’ deadline for registration is Saturday February 25th.

Hope to see you there!

Bill Bisson ’60
President, MIT Club of Maine

From I-295 N:

  • Take Exit 10 (Bucknam Road)
  • Turn right off the exit and cross I-295; at 2nd traffic light (Nina’s Variety on right), turn right
  • Shortly, when you come to a “Y” in the road, bear left, staying on Route 9
  • Take an immediate left onto Woods Road. The Woodlands Club entrance is 0.8 mile on your left.
  • Replace Instruction 2 above with" Turn right off the exit.  At 1st traffic light, (Nina’s Variety on right), turn right"
  • Contact Information
    Name: Bill Bisson
    Email: wbisson1@gmail.com
    Phone: 207.317.1995
    Name: Erv Davis
    Email: ervdavis@maine.rr.com
    Phone: 207.282.8096



    Looking For Alums who were Tutoring Plus Volunteers 

    Tutoring Plus of Cambridge, http://www.tutoringplus.org/home.html, will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in 2014. In preparation for this very special celebration with a Mardi Gras themed event on Friday February 28th, 2014, the organization is making an effort to contact former volunteer tutors. Tutoring Plus hopes to include as many comments and reminiscences as possible as part of the program for the event, and of course they would be thrilled if you could deliver them in person!

    If you were a Tutoring Plus volunteer as an MIT student, please contact Ellen McLaughlin, Executive Director at: mclaughlin@tutoringplus.org, and let her know how she can best reach you to follow up, get your comments and reminiscences and send you an invitation to the event.

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