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Afghanistan’s Future: The U.S. Withdrawal and the Taliban
4:00pm - 5:00pm ET

Last year, then President Donald Trump signed an agreement with the Taliban to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan in February 2020. In recent weeks, President Joe Biden completed the withdrawal and ended America's longest war just weeks before the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks. 

The future of Afghanistan is unclear. Will the Taliban preserve any of the advances in civil liberties and women’s rights made under the democratic government? Will the Afghan people resist the Taliban and fight for democracy independently of a U.S. occupation? What does the end of the war mean for American foreign policy? 

Join Perry World House for a conversation on these questions and many more around the shocking shift in power and human rights crises it has precipitated. Moderated by Trudy Rubin, foreign affairs columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer, the panel will feature Wazhmah Osman, Assistant Professor in Media Studies and Production, Temple University; Meg Guliford, Penn Vice-Provost Postdoctoral Fellow; and John Gans, Director of Communications and Research at Perry World House.


Wazhmah Osman headshotWazhmah Osman is an Afghan-American academic and filmmaker. She is an assistant professor in Media Studies and Production at Temple University. In her book Television and the Afghan Culture Wars: Brought to You by Foreigners, Warlords, and Activists (University of Illinois Press, Fall 2020), she analyzes the impact of international funding and cross-border media flows on the national politics of Afghanistan, the region, and beyond. Osman endeavors to intervene on these subjects beyond academia. Her research and teaching are rooted in feminist media ethnographies that focus on the political economy of global media industries and the regimes of representation and visual culture they produce. In her recent work she extends these critical inquiries to the politics of representation and visual culture of "The War On Terror" including gender/sexuality discourses and how they reverberate globally and locally. She has appeared as a commentator on Democracy Now, WNYC, NPR, and Al Jazeera and works with community and activist groups. Prior to starting her graduate studies, she worked for more than a decade in television and film production for major American and international media institutions and as an independent journalist and filmmaker. Her critically acclaimed documentary films have screened in diverse venues, ranging from human rights organizations to national and international film festivals.

John Gans headshotJohn Gans is Director of Communications and Research at Perry World House. In addition to leading Perry World House's Graduate Associates program, Gans teaches Penn undergraduate and graduate students. Prior to joining Perry World House, he was the chief speechwriter to Secretary of Defense Ash Carter at the Pentagon. In addition to leading the writing team at the Defense Department, Gans served as senior speechwriter for Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew. In 2019, Gans published White House Warriors: How the National Security Council Transformed the American Way of War, which the Wall Street Journal said was a "bottom-up history," The New Republic called "enlightening," and Lawfare concluded was “rollicking and compellingly told.” Gans earned his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University's School of Advanced International Studies.

Meg K. Guliford headshotMeg K. Guliford is a Penn Vice-Provost Postdoctoral Fellow in residence at Perry World House. Her broad research agenda reflects an interest in political violence, conflict processes, and U.S. foreign policy. Her research has been supported by the U.S. Institute of Peace and the Eisenhower Institute. Guliford’s career in the federal government began as a Presidential Management Fellow for the U.S. Marine Corps Headquarters and has included a civilian deployment to Iraq and work for the Institute for Defense Analyses and the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. Guliford will receive her Ph.D. in International Relations from Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy. She received her M.P.P. from the Harvard Kennedy School and a B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania.


Trudy Rubin headshotTrudy Rubin is the foreign affairs columnist for The Philadelphia Inquirer and a member of The Inquirer’s editorial board. In 2019, Ms. Rubin received the Overseas Press Club of America’s Flora Lewis Award for Best Commentary in international affairs. In 2017, and 2001, she was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in commentary. She is the author of Willful Blindness: The Bush Administration and Iraq. Ms. Rubin has special expertise on the Middle East, South Asia and Russia. In recent years, she has written from China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Russia, Ukraine, Afghanistan. Pakistan, Iraq, Egypt, Tunisia, Lebanon, Israel, the West Bank, Turkey, France, Italy, Britain and Germany. Before coming to The Inquirer, she was the Middle East correspondent and national correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor and a staff writer for The Economist. She is a graduate of Smith College and The London School of Economics.  In 2007, she was awarded the Smith College Medal for distinguished achievements by an alumna.