Warrior diplomat to visit Beloit March 13-19

Beloit, Wis.—Retired Marine Corps Gen. Anthony Zinni, former commander in chief of the United States Central Command and the subject of Tom Clancy’s 2004 book Battle Ready, will be the 2005 Weissberg Professor in International Studies at Beloit College.

The man described as “the very model of a modern general—a warrior-intellectual, adept at fighting battles, commanding divisions, planning strategy and tactics, undertaking massive logistical feats, and engaging in global diplomacy,” will visit Beloit March 13-19. Zinni will attend classes and make several public appearances.

Zinni joins a distinguished list of world figures who have served as the Marvin Weissberg Professor at Beloit. The program started in 2000 with Palestinian peace activist Hanan Ashrawi and has included Cuban diplomat Carlos Alzugaray, Doctors Without Borders founding Secretary Gen. Alain Destexhe, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Roy Gutman and Chinese environmental activist Dai Qing.

Zinni served as special envoy for Secretary of State Colin Powell in the Middle East. He has also led special missions to Turkey, Pakistan, Kenya, Russia, Yemen, Indonesia, the Philippines and other states—a role he continues to fill today.

Among his many commands, Zinni has served as head of the Special Operations and Terrorism Counteraction section of the Marines; chief of staff of the Marine Air-Ground Training and Education Center at Quantico Marine Corps Training Facility; deputy director of operations U.S.-European Command; director of operations, Somalia Task Force; commander of the Combined Task Force protecting the withdrawal of U.N. forces from Somalia; and Commanding General, First Marine Expeditionary Force.

This will be an exciting opportunity for the community to become familiar with a man known as the “warrior diplomat” during his nearly 40 years of service. As commander in chief of the Central Command from 1997 to 2000 and from November 2002 to March 2003, Zinni had military responsibility for a vast region including most of the Middle East, East Africa and Southwest and Central Asia.

According to Tom Clancy’s book, Battle Ready, the fourth volume in his series of profiles of American military commanders: “His challenges were legion: the delicate complex relationships with his regional allies; the rising threat of terrorism; the growing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction; the chronic problems of failed or incapable states; civil wars; border disputes; criminal activities such as drug trafficking and smuggling; and the difficult task of containing the two regional hegemons, Iran and Iraq.”

Zinni will make a number of public presentations during his visit. He will also participate in classroom and seminar discussions, and share meals and informal conversations with Beloit College students. The major public events will include the annual Weissberg lecture Monday, March 16, in Eaton Chapel, and a series of panel discussions Saturday, March 19, in Moore Lounge in Pearsons Hall. Zinni will also speak at the Beloit Rotary Club weekly luncheon, attend a book signing at the Turtle Creek Beloit College Bookstore, and visit with active and retired members of the military at a reception on the Beloit College campus.

The topic of the Weissberg lecture is yet to be determined, but it will relate to Zinni’s 40 years of on-the-ground experience, from Vietnam to his command position responsible for Europe and the Middle East and commander and operations director in the Pacific and North Africa. The Saturday panels will bring together leading authorities for an examination of war, diplomacy and the ethics of humanitarian intervention. The first panel will focus on ethics and the use of military force, and the second will be an examination of arguments for and against humanitarian intervention by the U.S. military.

All events are free and open to the public. A complete detailed schedule will be posted on the Beloit College Web site. For additional information, please call 608-363-2625.

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