Bucknell Forum: The 'citizen-soldier' April 15
Matthew Bogdanos, Class of 1980.
Posted: March 17, 2009
By Sam Alcorn
LEWISBURG, Pa. – Matthew Bogdanos, an acclaimed author, internationally recognized speaker, medaled veteran of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Bucknell graduate, will discuss “The End of the Citizen-Soldier? Questions of Leadership in a Time of War” as the third speaker in this semester’s Bucknell Forum series.
Free and open to the public, the talk will be held at 7:30 p.m. April 15 in Trout Auditorium in the Vaughan Literature Building at Bucknell University. The Bucknell Forum series “Global Leadership: Questions for the 21st Century” began in January and runs through spring 2010.
No recording or photography will be allowed.
Bogdanos, Class of ’80, led an international investigation into the looting of the Iraq Museum in the days following the beginning of the Iraq War. His investigation and subsequent recovery of thousands of priceless artifacts were the basis for his book, Thieves of Baghdad: One Marine’s Passion to Recover the World’s Greatest Stolen Treasures, and led to his being awarded the 2005 National Humanities Medal by former President George W. Bush.
He has spoken in more than 150 cities in 16 countries, including addresses to the British Parliament, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, to a general assembly of Interpol, and to several sessions of the United Nations.
Bogdanos’ book, which detailed how the black market in stolen antiquities helped to fund terrorist financing and the insurgency in Iraq, is being made into a movie and was recently revised and updated in paperback. All book royalties go to the Iraq Museum. Bogdanos’ presentation at Bucknell, which will include a multi-media presentation about his investigation and war experiences, will be followed by a book-signing.
A colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, Bogdanos has championed the concept of the citizen-soldier and a better understanding of the military and its role in society.
“Without greater understanding between the military and civilian worlds or, better, a return to a synthesis of the two, we risk a future without all of us working toward the same ends – whatever society decides those ends should be,” he wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed column. “And we risk misusing military force because of misunderstandings about what it can and can't do or, once used, its being prematurely withdrawn because of unrealistic expectations. The solution is an educated citizenry that understands its soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines – understands that we are you.”
As a reservist, Bogdanos had served in South Korea, Lithuania, Guyana, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kosovo. He was recalled to active duty after losing his apartment near the World Trade Center in the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
Deployed to Afghanistan and the Horn of Africa, Bogdanos received a Bronze Star for counter-terrorist actions against al-Qaeda. He then served several tours in Iraq, where he began the investigation into the 2003 looting of the Iraq Museum.
“Marine Col. Matthew Bogdanos’ resume would put Indiana Jones to shame,” U.S. News and World Report said.
Bogdanos holds a classics degree from Bucknell, a law degree and master’s in classics from Columbia University and a master’s in strategic studies from the Army War College.
A homicide prosecutor in the New York City District Attorney’s Office, Bogdanos has been called a “pit bull" by tabloids for his relentless prosecution of criminals – such as the 15-year-old “Baby-Faced Butchers” for their 1997 grisly Central Park murder and rappers Sean Diddy Combs and Jamal Shyne Barrows for their 1999 shootout.
Bogdanos has returned to work in the District Attorney’s Office in New York, where he still boxes for New York’s Police Widows and Children Fund and continues the hunt for stolen antiquities.
The spring 2009 Bucknell Forum series was kicked off by F.W. de Klerk, who shared the Nobel Peace Prize with Nelson Mandela in 1993 for bringing an end to apartheid in South Africa. Ayaan Hirsi Ali, a noted leader and author who has faced death threats for her criticism of Islam’s treatment of women, will give the talk “Ladies First” on March 31. || Bucknell Forum past events
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