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Saudi Arabia on the Global Stage
As an increasingly stark war and conflict-driven famine in Yemen reemerged on the front pages of newspapers last week, Saudi Arabia’s role in the war, including their leadership of a coalition of Arab states and proxy war on Iran, remains far from clear. The recent torture and murder of journalist Jamal Kashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul also caught the attention of the international community with its brutality, brazenness, and glaring inconsistencies in the cover-up. Moreover, the United States of America’s relationship with the Kingdom remains fraught, and Saudi Arabia continues to play an important role on the world’s political and economic functioning due to its position as the world’s largest oil exporter and second-largest arms importer—with most of those coming from the United States.
Join Perry World House’s executive director Bill Burke-White to discuss these issues and more on Saudi Arabia’s place in the world today with former U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Joseph Westphal.
This week’s The World Today will be an off-the-record conversation and closed to media.
Ambassador Joseph Westphal is a Senior Global Fellow at the Lauder Institute and Senior Fellow at Wharton’s Leadership Center. Dr. Joseph W. Westphal was sworn in as the U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on March 26, 2014. Prior to this appointment, Ambassador Westphal was the Under Secretary of the Army and its Chief Management Officer from 2009 to 2014. In that capacity, Secretary Westphal functioned as the chief operating officer of a force of more than one million soldiers and several hundred thousand civilians. He also held the positions of Assistant Secretary of the Army from 1998 to 2000 and Acting Secretary of the Army in 2001. Ambassador Westphal’s career spans more than 40 years of service in higher education and government. He began his career in 1975 as a professor of political science at Oklahoma State University. In government, he worked in both the House and Senate for more than twelve years. He has held positions in the administrations of Presidents Carter, Reagan, Clinton, Bush, and Obama, working in the Department of the Interior, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense. Ambassador Westphal received a B.A. from Adelphi University (1970), an M.A. from Oklahoma State University (1973), and his Ph.D. from the University of Missouri-Columbia (1980). Ambassador Westphal was born in Santiago, Chile and immigrated with his family to the United States in 1957. He is fluent in Spanish.
Professor William Burke-White is a professor of law at Penn Law School, inaugural director of Perry World House, and a co-faculty lead for the Global Order: Power, Technology, and Governance research theme. Burke-White is an expert on international law and global governance, served in the Obama Administration from 2009-2011 on Secretary Clinton’s Policy Planning Staff, providing the Secretary direct policy advice on multilateral diplomacy and international institutions. He was principal drafter of the Quadrennial Diplomacy and Development Review (QDDR), Secretary Clinton’s hallmark foreign policy and institutional reform effort. Burke-White has written extensively in the fields of international law and institutions, with focus on international criminal and international economic law. His work has addressed issues of post-conflict justice; the International Criminal Court; international human rights, and international arbitration. His current research explores gaps in the global governance system and the challenges of international legal regulation in a world of rising powers and divergent interests. In 2008 he received the A. Leo Levin Award and in 2007 the Robert A. Gorman award for Excellence in Teaching.