On February 12th, the United States Institute of Peace’s Associate Vice President of the Asia Center Moeed Yusuf and former Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan Ambassador Richard Olson led a discussion on US-Pakistan Relations as a part of the USIP-PSA Congressional briefing series. This briefing explored the deterioration of US-Pakistan relations and how the US can encourage greater cooperation on Afghanistan, counterterrorism, and other important priorities. This was a closed off-the-record event held for congressional staff.
Moeed W. Yusuf is the associate vice president of the Asia center at the U.S. Institute of Peace. Yusuf has been engaged in expanding USIP’s work on Pakistan/South Asia since 2010. His current research focuses on youth and democratic institutions in Pakistan, policy options to mitigate militancy in Pakistan and the South Asian region in general, and U.S. role in South Asian crisis management. His latest book, Brokering Peace in Nuclear Environments: U.S. Crisis Management in South Asia, is being released by Stanford University Press in 2018. Before joining USIP, Yusuf was a fellow at the Frederick S. Pardee Center for the Study of the Longer-Range Future at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, and concurrently a research fellow at the Mossavar-Rahmani Center at Harvard Kennedy School. He has also worked at the Brookings Institution.
In 2007, he co-founded Strategic and Economic Policy Research, a private sector consultancy firm in Pakistan. Yusuf has also consulted for a number of Pakistani and international organizations including the Asian Development Bank, World Bank, and the Stockholm Policy Research Institute, among others. From 2004-2007, he was a full-time consultant with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), Pakistan’s premier development-sector think tank. Yusuf taught in Boston University’s Political Science and International Relations Departments as a senior teaching fellow in 2009. He had previously taught at the defense and strategic studies department at Quaid-e-Azam University, Pakistan. He lectures regularly at the U.S. Department of State’s Foreign Service Institute and has also lectured at the Pakistan Military Staff College and at NATO’s Center of Excellence-Defense Against Terrorism in Ankara, Turkey.
He has published widely in national and international journals, professional publications and magazines. He writes regularly for Dawn, Pakistan’s leading English daily. He also frequently appears as an expert on U.S. and Pakistani media. His books South Asia 2060: Envisioning Regional Futures (Adil Najam and Moeed Yusuf, eds.) and Getting it Right in Afghanistan (Scott Smith, Moeed Yusuf, and Colin Cookman, eds.) were published by Anthem Press, UK and U.S. Institute of Peace Press respectively in 2013. He is also the editor of Pakistan’s Counter-terrorism Challenge (Georgetown University Press, 2014) and Insurgency and Counterinsurgency in South Asia: From a Peacebuilding Lens (U.S. Institute of Peace Press, 2014). Yusuf has served on a number of important task forces, advisory councils, working groups, and governing boards, both in the U.S. and Pakistan. In 2013, he was selected to Nobel laureate, Pugwash International’s ‘Council’ (governing body) and subsequently became the youngest member ever to be included in its global executive committee to serve a six-year term. He holds a Masters in International Relations and PhD in Political Science from Boston University.
Ambassador Richard Olson
Ambassador Richard Olson retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in November of 2016 with the rank of Career Minister. His final assignment was as U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan (SRAP). From 2012 to 2015 he was the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan. Olson served as the Coordinating Director for Development and Economic Affairs, at U.S. Embassy Kabul, Afghanistan, from 2011 to 2012, and U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates from 2008 to 2011. Olson joined the U.S. Department of State in 1982. He served in Mexico, Uganda, Tunisia, Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, the United Arab Emirates (both Abu Dhabi and Dubai), and in Najaf, Iraq. He was also Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Mission to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
His Washington assignments included: State Department Operations Center (twice), NATO Desk, the Office of Israel and Palestinian Affairs (twice, including as Director), and the Office of Iraqi Affairs, including as Director. Olson is a recipient of the Secretary of State’s Distinguished Service Award, a Presidential Distinguished Service Award, the Secretary of State’s Award for Public Outreach, the State Department’s Superior Honor Award (three times), and the Secretary of Defense’s Exceptional Civilian Service Award (for his service in Iraq). He was awarded the medal of Wazir Akbar Khan by President of Afghanistan Ashraf Ghani. He graduated from Brown University in 1981, receiving an A.B. in Law and Society (Honors) and History. He is the father of two daughters and enjoys cycling and hiking.