Shuja Nawaz to Head South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council

New Director a Leading Thinker on Pakistan, Afghanistan, India

Washington, D.C. – Shuja Nawaz will become the first director of the new South Asia Center of the Atlantic Council.  A native of Pakistan, Nawaz is a leading authority on South Asia and is deeply connected to the region.  Additionally, he served as a principal author of the Atlantic Council’s own Pakistan Task Force report, which is scheduled to be released soon after the inauguration.

The South Asia Center will become the Atlantic Council’s focal point for work related to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India, as well as to relations between these countries and China, Central Asia, Iran, the Arab world, Europe, and the U.S.  Through his extensive contacts, Nawaz will foster partnerships with key institutions in the region to establish the Center as a forum for dialogue between decision makers in South Asia, the U.S., and NATO.  These deliberations will cover internal and external security, governance, trade, economic development, education, and other issues.  Working within the region itself, rather than in Washington alone, will create greater local ownership of results.

Atlantic Council President and CEO Frederick Kempe welcomed the establishment of the South Asia Center, saying, “Nawaz will provide leading insight into South Asian issues crucial to both the Obama administration and the Atlantic Community.”  Brent Scowcroft, National Security Advisor to Presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush and Chairman of the Atlantic Council’s International Advisory Board, added, “Nawaz’s plans for the Center will go beyond academic examination of South Asian issues to produce practical ideas for policymakers.”  The establishment of the Center will also build on the impact to thinking on Afghanistan produced by the Council’s influential report, Saving Afghanistan: An Appeal and Plan for Urgent Action.  Atlantic Council Chairman and incoming National Security Advisor General James L. Jones presented the report to Congress last year, memorably stating, “Make no mistake, the international community is not winning in Afghanistan.”

Using the Atlantic Council’s comparative advantage in security issues as well as its relationships with NATO and U.S. defense establishments, the Center will promote further and more open interaction between the militaries of key states in South Asia.  In doing so, the Center intends to strengthen the idea of civilian supremacy in government and to counter the emergence of radical ideologies within security apparatuses.

Nawaz, widely respected for his journalistic work, has collaborated with several Washington institutions, including CSIS, RAND Corporation, and the United States Institute of Peace.  He attended the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University and was a member of the prize-winning publishing program at Stanford University.  Nawaz writes for many leading newspapers, speaks regularly about current events, and frequently comments for radio and television programs.  As a political and strategic analyst, he has advised governments in Asia as well as Africa.  His latest book, Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars Within, was released last year.


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