University News

WIU Theme Speakers Series: Spring 2013

February 5, 2013

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MACOMB, IL – Journalist Peter Bergen, one of the few Westerners to interview Osama bin Laden, will speak at Western Illinois University Tuesday, Feb. 19 as part of the Western Illinois University Theme Speakers Series. The 2012-2013 University-wide theme is "War and Peace: From Personal Conflict to Global Resolution."

Bergen will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 19 in the University Union Heritage Room on the Macomb campus. The event is open free to the public.

Bergen is the foremost authority on foreign policy, national security and the new generation of terrorism. In addition to serving as CNN's terrorism analyst, he is the New York Times best-selling author of "Holy War, Inc.: Inside the Secret World of Bin Laden" and "The Longest War: the Enduring Conflict between America and Al-Qaeda."

An expert in his field, Bergen serves as the director of the national security studies program at the New America Foundation in Washington D.C., where he leads the foundation's analysis of terrorism, counterinsurgency, South Asia's geopolitics and other national security concerns. His latest book, "Manhunt: The Ten Year Search for Osama bin Laden: From 9/11 to Abbottabad" was released in May 2012. The book is being translated into eight languages and HBO is producing a theatrical release documentary based upon it. The film, for which Bergen is the executive producer, is in the 2013 Sundance Film competition.

He has held teaching positions at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Bergen has reported on al-Qaeda, Afghanistan, Pakistan, counter-terrorism, homeland security and countries around the Middle East for a range of American newspapers and magazines including the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Rolling Stone, TIME, The Nation, The National Interest, Mother Jones, Newsweek, Washington Times and Vanity Fair. He is a contributing editor at The New Republic and writes a weekly column for He has also written for newspapers and magazines around the world such as The Guardian, The Times, The Daily Telegraph, International Herald Tribune, Prospect, El Mundo, La Repubblica, The National, Der Spiegel and Die Welt, and he has worked as a correspondent or producer for multiple documentaries that have aired on National Geographic, Discovery and CNN.

Bergen is on the editorial board of Studies in Conflict & Terrorism, a leading scholarly journal in the field, and has testified before multiple congressional committees about Afghanistan, Pakistan and terrorism issues. He is a member of the Homeland Security Project, a successor to the 9/11 Commission, and also of the Aspen Homeland Security Group. He is the editor of the AfPak Channel, a joint publication of Foreign Policy magazine and the New America Foundation.

The final Spring 2013 speaker is Joseph Sebarenzi, former head of the Rwanda Parliament and a survivor of genocide (April 2).

For more information about the University Theme Speakers Series, contact coordinators Michelle Janisz at, Heather McIlvaine-Newsad at or Cynthia B. Struthers at

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