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Plenary Speakers

Brigadier General MacFarland Brigadier General Sean MacFarland
Plenary Session I

Brigadier General Sean B. MacFarland recently completed command of Joint Task Force North at Fort Bliss, Texas. The task force is a Department of Defense organization which supports our nation's federal law enforcement agencies in the identification and interdiction of suspected transnational threats within and along the approaches to the continental United States.

His prior deployments and assignments include Chief of the Iraq Division, Plans and Policy Officer, The Joint Staff; command of 1st Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division - the Ready First - in Tal Afar, West Ninewah province, and Ramadi, Iraq; Operations Officer of V Corps; Chief of Future Operations for Combined/Joint Task Force 7 in Iraq; command of 2nd Battalion, 63rd Armor Regiment at Camp Able Sentry in Macedonia; Aide de Camp for the Commanding General, U.S. Army, Europe, in Heidelberg and Commander of NATO's Stabilization Force (SFOR) in Sarajevo; Chief of the Commanding General's Initiatives Group in Kuwait during Operation Desert Thunder; Operations Officer and Executive Officer of the 3rd Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, in Schweinfurt, Germany and later Bosnia as part of the NATO Implementation Force (IFOR); plans officer in 3rd Infantry Division; troop commander and squadron logistics officer in 3rd Squadron, 12th Cavalry Regiment, in Buedingen, Germany; Deputy Regimental Operations Officer for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment during Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm; and Cavalry Platoon Leader and Troop Executive Officer in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Bliss, Texas.

Brigadier General MacFarland graduated from West Point and was commissioned as an Armor officer in 1981. His graduate degrees include a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Georgia Tech, a Master of Military Art and Science degree from the Command and General Staff College, and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the National Defense University.

His awards include the Combat Action Badge, the Defense Superior Service Medal (with Oak Leaf cluster), the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star (with two Oak Leaf clusters), the Meritorious Service Medal (with five Oak Leaf clusters), a Joint Service Commendation Medal, an Army Commendation Medal, and the Army Achievement Medal (with four Oak Leaf clusters). He has earned the Joint Staff Identification Badge, Air Assault Badge, and the Parachutist Badge.

Brigadier General MacFarland and his wife, Lynda, have two children.

Sean GourleySean Gourley
Plenary Session II

Sean is a Physicist, decathlete, political advisor, and TED fellow. He is originally from New Zealand where he ran for national elected office and helped start New Zealand's first nanotech company. Sean studied at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar where he received a PhD for his research on the mathematical patterns that underlie modern war. This research has taken him all over the world from the Pentagon, to the United Nations and Iraq.

Previously Sean worked at NASA on self-repairing nano-circuits and is a two-time New Zealand track and field champion. Sean is now based in San Francisco where he splits his time between mathematical research and his venture capital backed startup Younoodle.com.

Antoine RutayisireAntoine Rutayisire
Plenary Session III

Antoine Rutayisire is the current Rwandan Team Leader of African Enterprise, an organization that is committed to bringing healing, reconciliation, strength and renewal back to the disillusioned and devastated Rwandan church and nation. Prior to his current position he was a lecturer at the Rwanda National University, a teacher and Deputy Headmaster at a Kigali secondary school (1983-1990), and Rwanda National Secretary for IFES (1990-1994).

Since 1999, he has served as a Commissioner on the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission, in charge of drafting and supervising the implementation of the national policy for reconciliation in Rwanda, and was twice chosen as its Vice-Chairman. From 1992 to 1994 Antoine served as Secretary of the African Enterprise - Rwanda Board before becoming team leader after the Tutsi Genocide of 1994.

Antoine holds a MA in Applied Linguistics (UK, North Wales) and an MA in Modern Literature and Curriculum Development from the Rwanda University and has spoken on the topic of reconciliation for World Vision as well as twice at the International Reconciliation Conferences hosted by Reconciliation New Works of Our World.

Carolyn ForcheCarolyn Forche
Plenary Session IV

Known as a "poet of witness," Carolyn Forché is the author of four books of poetry. Her first poetry collection, Gathering The Tribes (Yale University Press, 1976), won the Yale Series of Younger Poets Award. In 1977, she traveled to Spain to translate the work of Salvadoran-exiled poet Claribel Alegría, and upon her return, received a John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship to travel to El Salvador and work as a human rights advocate.

Her second book, The Country Between Us (Harper and Row, 1982), received the Poetry Society of America's Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, and was also the Lamont Selection of the Academy of American Poets. In 1994, her third book of poetry, The Angel of History (HarperCollins), was chosen for The Los Angeles Times Book Award. Her fourth book of poems, Blue Hour, was published by HarperCollins in Spring 2003.

Carolyn Forché is Lannan Visiting Professor of Poetry and Professor of English at Georgetown University, and lives in Maryland with her husband, photographer Harry Mattison, and their son, Sean-Christophe.

Be sure to take advantage of the live-streaming capabilities of the Symposium. All four Plenary Lectures will be live-streamed onto the web so that you can be a part of the Global Conflicts Symposium while listening live from home or work.

Click here for the live-streaming details.

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