The World Affairs Council of Charleston hosts six speaking events each year, three in each the spring and fall.  During those seasons, come to this page to find information about each upcoming speaker, and the date and time of the event.

Unpacking our Relationship with Saudi Arabia: Few Shared Values but Many Shared Interests - Navigating the Khashoggi Crisis

December 12, 2018 at 5:15 PM 
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The Citadel Alumni Center
69 Hagood Ave.
Charleston, SC 29403

Topic: "Unpacking our Relationship with Saudi Arabia: Few Shared Values but Many Shared Interests - Navigating the Khashoggi Crisis" - addressing the current hot-button issue of the day - but also one that is key to U.S. strategy in the Middle East

Speaker : Al Thibault, Program Chair, World Affairs Council of Charleston

Description: Few countries have been as central to U.S. foreign policy goals and interests as Saudi Arabia, from as far back as 1945. There have been ups and downs in our relationship but few as potentially threatening as the fall-out from the murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Its potential impact ranges from the global price of oil,  to U.S. policy toward Iran, and the domestic direction of the Saudi regime. Repercussions for Turkey, the Persian Gulf countries, Israel and others are still unfolding. The U.S. response is absolutely key, hence the need to focus on why our relationship with the Saudis has been and will remain vital. 

WACC Program Chair Al Thibault is well qualified to discuss these issues. Al's 35 year career in the Foreign Service led him to serving primarily in South Asia and the Middle East, including many years in India and Pakistan. He headed the political section of the U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia where he was subsequently deputy Ambassador and U.S. Charge d'Affaires. He continues to follow Saudi affairs closely. He received his MA from the University of Toronto, was a Ph.D candidate at the University of Pennsylvania, conducted  research at the Indian School of International Studies in New Delhi, and studied Arabic in Jordan. In the State Department,  he was Director for the Middle East in the Bureau for Refugee Programs when he traveled widely in the region.