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Gaining Afghanistan’s Trust — Public Diplomacy and Special Forces Approaches, at the September 25 PDAA Lunch Program

Matt Lussenhop

Matt Lussenhop (A. Kotok)

Matt Lussenhop, former Public Affairs Officer in Kabul, and Major Fernando Lujan, U.S. Army Special Forces and former advisor embedded with Afghan forces in Kandahar and Helmand provinces, discussed their respective approaches to building trust among Afghans in a special luncheon program to kick off the 2012-2013 season, on Tuesday, September 25 at the DACOR-Bacon House in Washington, D.C.

As the U.S. plans to end combat operations in Afghanistan, both the State and Defense Departments are ramping up the transition for civilian and security responsibilities in Afghanistan. Mr. Lussenhop and Major Lujan will describe their experiences in Afghanistan and discuss how the two Departments carry out the overall mission.

Matt Lussenhop is now Director of Policy and Evaluation for the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, returning from his service as Public Affairs Counselor at the U.S. Embassy in Kabul. Prior to Kabul, Lussenhop served as Director of Public Diplomacy Training at the Foreign Service Institute. He earlier served as Public Affairs Officer in Sofia, Bulgaria and Muscat, Oman, and as Information Officer in Manila, Philippines and Rabat, Morocco. Other assignments include Assistant PAO in Kuwait, Assistant CAO in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and Arab Media Officer in the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.

Fernando Lujan

Fernando Lujan (A. Kotok)

Major Fernando Lujan is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for a New American Security, while serving as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer. Major Lujan recently returned to the U.S. after leading a new pilot program that combined specially selected Afghan officers, civilians, and language-capable U.S. military officers who assist commanders at all levels in conducting counterinsurgency operations.

Previously, Major Lujan served as an assistant professor of politics, policy, and strategy at the U.S. Military Academy and an associate of the West Point Combating Terrorism Center. From 2003 to 2006, he conducted counterinsurgency and counterterrorism missions in Iraq, Afghanistan, Colombia, and the Tri-Border Area of Paraguay, Argentina, and Brazil. Major Lujan is a graduate of West Point and has a Masters degree from Harvard University.

This PDAA event took place on Tuesday, September 25, 12:00 pm to 2:30 pm, at the DACOR-Bacon House, 1801 F Street, N.W., Washington, D.C. The program was off-the-record, and not available in audio or video form.

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