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Former Adviser, Journalist to Discuss Foreign Policy, Security

Thomas Donilon, former national security adviser to President Barack Obama, and Barton Gellman, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author, will discuss “Foreign Policy and National Security” in a free talk on campus Oct. 30.

Hodding Carter will moderate the discussion at 5:30 p.m. in the G-100 auditorium of the Genome Sciences Building on Bell Tower Road. Carter, now the University Professor of leadership and public policy at UNC, was a State Department spokesperson during the Jimmy Carter administration.

Donilon and Gellman are coming to Carolina as Frey Foundation Distinguished Visiting Professors in the College of Arts and Sciences.

Donilon served as national security adviser to the president until June 2013. In that capacity, he oversaw the National Security Council staff, chaired the Cabinet-level National Security Principals Committee, provided the president’s daily national security briefing, and was responsible for the coordination and integration of the administration’s foreign policy, intelligence and military efforts. Donilon has worked closely with and advised three U.S. presidents since his first position at the White House in 1977 in the Carter administration.

As Obama has said, “Tom Donilon has helped shaped every significant national security decision of my presidency,” including the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Arab Spring, the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, and Donilon’s negotiation of the 2013 U.S.-China Summit.

He also was the president’s personal emissary to a number of world leaders — from the president of China to the prime minister of Israel to the president of Russia.

Donilon is a distinguished fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations and a nonresident senior fellow at Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.

Gellman, the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, was one of three journalists who interviewed and received documents from Edward Snowden in late spring 2013. Gellman’s stories for The Washington Post revealed the National Security Agency’s PRISM program and other aspects of government surveillance.

His current focus is a forthcoming book for Penguin Press on what he calls “the surveillance industrial revolution.” Previous books include the bestselling Angler: The Cheney Vice Presidency, a New York Times Best Book of 2008 and winner of the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Gellman spent 21 years at The Washington Post as a legal, military, diplomatic, foreign and special projects correspondent before leaving in 2010 to become a contributing editor at large for Time magazine. He writes the CounterSpy blog about digital privacy and security.

Gellman is a senior fellow at the Century Foundation and visiting lecturer at Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. He is a Rhodes Scholar, has taught a Princeton undergraduate seminar on national security secrecy and is a frequent guest on CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.

The Frey Foundation Professorship was established in 1989 to bring to campus distinguished leaders from government, public policy, international affairs and the arts. David Gardner Frey ’64, who also earned his law degree from UNC in 1967, chairs the foundation established by his parents, Edward J. and Frances Frey of Grand Rapids, Mich.

Free parking for the event is available after 5 p.m. in the Bell Tower parking deck.


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