MONTGOMERY - Former Ambassador Joseph Wilson will discuss relations between the U.S. and Africa during a presentation of the Alabama World Affairs Council on Tuesday, Sept. 20 at Troy University Montgomery.
The presentation, "Africa and the U.S.: Past and Present," will be held in the Gold Room, located on the second floor of Whitley Hall, beginning with a reception at 5:30 p.m. The presentation is free to members of the Alabama World Affairs Council and $20 to guests.
Wilson's historic career in international relations spans more than three decades, with service under five U.S. presidents — Ford, Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., and Clinton. Widely recognized for his diplomatic leadership, Wilson was hailed "a true American hero" by President George H.W. Bush for his efforts to free more than 100 American hostages in Iraq.
The last American official to confront Saddam Hussein before the start of the Gulf War, Wilson served as the acting U.S. Ambassador in Iraq throughout Operation Desert Shield. He has held numerous senior government positions, including Ambassador to Gabon and to the Democratic Republic of Sao Tome and Principe. As Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director for African Affairs at the National Security Council, Wilson was responsible for the coordination of U.S. policy to the 48 countries of sub-Saharan Africa.
Under direction from the Bush Administration, in 2002, Wilson was sent to investigate reports that Saddam was seeking uranium yellowcake from Niger for Iraq's nuclear program. After his visit, Wilson became the first to openly challenge the administration on its justification for war. Eight days after Wilson stated his conclusions in a New York Times article, "What I Didn't Find in Africa," his wife's identity as a covert CIA officer was revealed. The revelation led to investigations and the subsequent conviction of then-Vice President Dick Cheney's Chief of Staff, Scooter Libby, on four counts of perjury, lying to federal investigators and obstruction of justice.
In 2004, Wilson chronicled his diplomatic career and battle with the Bush administration in his national bestselling book, "The Politics of Truth." In 2010, the Wilsons' story was made into a major motion picture starring Sean Penn and Naomi Watts, entitled "Fair Game," after Valerie Plame's memoir.
The Alabama World Affairs Council sponsors lectures and programs on current and recent events of national and international interest throughout the year with the aim to increase individuals' knowledge of world affairs and how they impact the United States. The Council also serves as a platform to showcase some of the world-class faculty at Maxwell Air Force Base's Air University. The Council has partnered with Troy University, bringing all Council events to the University's Montgomery Campus.