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USC students quiz Petraeus on international relations

Merrill Balassoneby Merrill Balassone
Retired Gen. David Petraeus takes part in a roundtable discussion at the Brookings Institution. (Photo/Pam Risdon)
Retired Gen. David Petraeus takes part in a roundtable discussion at the Brookings Institution. (Photo/Pam Risdon)

A group of USC undergraduates on June 20 became students of retired Gen. David Petraeus, who was named as a USC Judge Widney Professor in May.

In a roundtable talk at the Brookings Institution — one of Washington, D.C.’s oldest and most influential think tanks — the USC students quizzed the former CIA director on issues of national security and international relations. The group asked pointed questions about strategies on multilateral disarmament talks, the U.S. relationship with North Korea and the future of America’s relations with Pakistan in the wake of its military involvement in Afghanistan.

USC sophomore Matt Woo presented Petraeus with a university lapel pin to welcome him to the USC faculty this fall.

“Meeting with Gen. Petraeus was incredible. To use my professor’s words, he is an encyclopedia,” said Woo, an international relations major at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, who hopes to one day join the CIA.

“Getting to meet with Gen. Petraeus and getting to present him with a USC pin has definitely been a highlight in my career at USC thus far,” he added.

Petraeus told the assembly that he looked forward to working with USC’s distinguished faculty, teaching students and mentoring student veterans as well as ROTC members on campus.

The undergraduates at the roundtable, who are students of Professor Emeritus Wayne Glass, are currently spending a month in the nation’s capital, where they are meeting with officials and experts to discuss the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and exploring the world of policy-making.

Petraeus is the architect and namesake of the counterinsurgency doctrine that stabilized Iraq under U.S. and allied forces. He served as director of the CIA from September 2011 until November 2012. Prior to assuming that post, he was a highly decorated four-star general, serving more than 37 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in August 2011.

Petraeus’ appointment at USC includes affiliations with the USC School of Social Work, including the program in military social work; the USC Price School of Public Policy; the USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, including the program in public diplomacy; the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, including the School of International Relations; the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, including the Information Sciences Institute; the USC Institute for Creative Technologies; and the USC Libraries, including the USC Sidney Harman Academy for Polymathic Study.