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Former Army Officer & Afghan Expert Discusses ‘Islam, Islamism & ISIS’

Posted: September 15, 2016

The Society of Skeptics welcomed retired Army Maj. Jason C. Howk on September 20 for a detailed look at “Islam, Islamism and ISIS.” During his Army service (1991-2015), Mr. Howk spent several years in Afghanistan and worked extensively with the State Department, intelligence agencies, academia and international diplomats on Afghan issues. Currently a writer, teacher and speaker, he shared his expert knowledge with the Blair community beginning at 7 p.m. in Bogle Hall’s Cowan Auditorium.

Mr. Howk began his military service as an enlisted paratrooper; upon earning his commission in 2000, he served the balance of his career as an engineer officer and foreign area officer. During two tours in Afghanistan, as aide-de-camp to Maj. Gen. Eikenberry (2002-2003) and aide-de-camp to Gen. McChrystal and military assistant to Sir Graeme Lamb (2009-2010), he was involved in building the Afghan national army, guiding the Afghan Security Sector Reform program and developing the Afghan Peace, Reintegration and Reconciliation program. As a South Asia foreign area officer from 2011 to 2013, he led high-level government and civilian teams focused on the Afghan and Pakistan regions.

Mr. Howk holds a master’s degree in South Asian and Middle Eastern security from the Naval Postgraduate School. A Malone Fellow in Arab and Islamic Studies and former term member at the Council on Foreign Relations, he studied Dari (Afghan Farsi) and Arabic at the Defense Language Institute. He is the author of several scholarly and professional articles and books, including Lions in the Path of Stability and Security: Oman’s Response to Pressing Issues in the Middle East. Mr. Howk is especially interested in mentoring young people who are interested in careers in defense, diplomacy and intelligence.

The Society of Skeptics was established as a forum for students and faculty to discuss and debate important global issues; it has grown to become one of the premier high school lecture series in the United States. Each week, speakers from the political, social, scientific, economic and literary arenas share their unique perspectives with students, who are encouraged to engage with presenters, asking questions and debating points of view.

The program was an outgrowth of the Blair International Society, begun in 1937. Forty years later, former history department chair Elliott Trommald, PhD, Hon.’65 established the modern Skeptics program as a regular forum for student discussion and debate; history teacher Martin Miller, PhD took over in the mid-1980s and molded the program into a weekly lecture series, one that has since continued without interruption. Under the tutelage of Dr. Miller, Skeptics has featured a wide variety of speakers who are engaging, accomplished in their respective fields and often controversial. For a listing of upcoming Skeptics programs, please click here.

Last Updated: September 29, 2016