U.S., Russia relations topic of Alabama World Affairs Council presentation

Presidents Trump and Putin participate in bilateral meeting at the G20 Japan Summit in June. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Presidents Trump and Putin participate in bilateral meeting at the G20 Japan Summit in June. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

Maj. Gen. Walter D. Givhan, USAF ret., and Dr. Mark Conversino will discuss the current state of the relationship between the United States and Russia during the October meeting of the Alabama World Affairs Council on Oct. 8 at Troy University’s Montgomery Campus.

The event, which will take place in the Gold Room in Whitley Hall at Troy University’s Montgomery Campus, will begin with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the presentation, “Russia and the U.S.: The State of the Relationship.” The presentation is free to members of the Alabama World Affairs Council and $20 for guests. To register for the event, visit www.alwac.org/events.

Givhan, who serves as president of the Alabama World Affairs Council, is the Senior Vice Chancellor for Advancement and Economic Development at Troy University. A native of Safford, Ala., Givhan earned his undergraduate degree in history from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn. He holds a master’s degree in international relations from Troy University, as well as master’s degrees from the National Defense University and Air University, and was a Military Fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Givhan is also a participant in the ongoing Dartmouth Conference dialogue between the U.S. and Russia, most recently in the June meeting of the Russian and U.S. delegations that took place in Russia.  Named for the bucolic New England setting of its first meeting in 1960, the Dartmouth Conference is a jointly owned, sustained dialogue among Russian and U.S. citizens that has held over two dozen Conferences at the plenary level, and many working-level meetings. 

In 2014, recognizing the danger of the rapidly deteriorating political relationship between Russia and the US, the Kettering Foundation on the U.S. side, and the World Politics and Resources Foundation on the Russian side, agreed to resume meetings at the plenary level, which had been suspended since 1991. Since then, nine plenary sessions of the Dartmouth Conference have been held.  The next plenary meeting is planned for December 3 – 5, 2019, in the United States.

Conversino, who serves as executive director of the Alabama World Affairs Council, is the Chief Academic Officer at Air University. In this position, he is the principal architect of the resident and nonresident (distributed learning) components of the continuum of education. 

Conversino was recently Deputy Commandant and Professor of Strategy and Security Studies at the School of Advanced Air and Space Studies (SAASS), Air University. As an award-winning professor, he was responsible for creating warrior-scholars of airpower.

Conversino joined the faculty of the Air War College (AWC) as a civilian following his retirement from the Air Force and subsequently joined the faculty of SAASS in 2015. He specializes in military and airpower history and theory, Russian history and the politics of the former Soviet Union, and his book, “Fighting with the Soviets: The Failure of Operation FRANTIC, 1944-1945,” was published by the University Press of Kansas in 1997.

The Alabama World Affairs Council sponsors lectures and programs on current and recent events of national and international interest throughout the year with the aim to increase individuals’ knowledge of world affairs and how they impact the United States. The Council also serves as a platform to showcase some of the world-class faculty at Maxwell Air Force Base’s Air University. The Council has partnered with Troy University, Alabama’s International University, bringing all Council events to the University’s Montgomery Campus.