General Wesley Clark (ret.) to Present Online Lecture at University of Arkansas

As NATO Supreme Commander, Gen. Wesley Clark rallied U.S. Marines and Army soldiers, leading them to victory in Operation Allied Force, a 78-day air campaign, backed by ground invasion planning and a diplomatic process, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing.
Courtesy of Alamy Photo.

As NATO Supreme Commander, Gen. Wesley Clark rallied U.S. Marines and Army soldiers, leading them to victory in Operation Allied Force, a 78-day air campaign, backed by ground invasion planning and a diplomatic process, which saved 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A global pandemic — a deeply divided Congress — challenges from China for global leadership. These issues and more will be addressed in an online lecture by Gen. Wesley Clark (ret.), who draws on a long, distinguished career of military service and civic engagement to pose the question, “What Now?” 

General Clark’s lecture, hosted by the Honors College, will be offered via Zoom at 5:15 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 26. All are invited to attend; please fill out this online form to gain access to the lecture. 

‘TOUGH ROW TO HOE’ 

President Joe Biden wants to “reestablish American leadership, but it’s going to be a pretty rough row to hoe,” Clark said. Clark looks beyond the immediate issues to a more pervasive trend.

“Since the early 1980s we’ve worked steadily to choose the private over the public sector, as if they’re in competition,” Clark said. “In fact, they’re synergistic.” As a result, support for government-funded initiatives like public health, education, national security and infrastructure has lagged. 

“We’re not keeping up with the things that government should do … and it’s hard for ordinary people, living in the heartland, to see what the government does for them,” Clark said. “So many people in this state, and elsewhere, are challenged to survive.”  

A CALL FOR UNITY 

Clark describes the Jan. 6 assault on Capitol Hill as “a wakeup call for a lot of people” on a host of issues — racism, gun control, jobs and opportunities in middle America. 

“There’s a lot of issues that surfaced in that, and it obviously shocked the world. … I hope that young people don’t use that as a turn off excuse. If anything, it’s a call to get involved — this is your country! People my age have already turned it over to you, … the country will be what you make it.”

Though he speaks to the next generation, Clark is still deeply engaged in tackling one of the toughest problems facing our nation. He founded the nonprofit organization Renew America Together to bridge the deep partisan divide that is stalling effective governance in Washington, D.C.

“The idea is to get some post-partisan politicians, people who are no longer asking for votes or asking for money, together from both sides of the aisle to talk about politics in a reflective way, to young people,” Clark said. “What’s it really like? Are the parties really enemies or are they just people expressing interests that could be synergistic, that could be ‘log-rolled’ into legislation.” 

“We are honored to host General Wesley Clark. Given his long and distinguished record of leadership and service to our country, we look forward to hearing his take on these turbulent times,” said Lynda Coon, dean of the Honors College. 

DISTINGUISHED CAREER OF SERVICE, AND A NEW ROLE 

Clark retired as a four-star general after 38 years in the United States Army, having served in his last assignments as Commander of U.S. Southern Command and then as Commander of U.S. European Command/ Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. 

Raised in Little Rock, he graduated first in his class at West Point and completed degrees in philosophy, politics and economics at Oxford University (B.A. and M.A.) as a Rhodes scholar. 

While serving in Vietnam, he commanded an infantry company in combat, where he was severely wounded and evacuated home on a stretcher. He later commanded at the battalion, brigade and division level, and served in a number of significant staff positions, including service as the director, Strategic Plans and Policy (J-5). 

He was the principal author of both the U.S. National Military Strategy and Joint Vision 2010, prescribing U.S. warfighting for full-spectrum dominance. He also worked with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke in the Dayton Peace Process, where he helped write and negotiate significant portions of the 1995 Dayton Peace Agreement. 

In his final assignment as Supreme Allied Commander Europe he led NATO forces to victory in Operation Allied Force, a 78-day air campaign, backed by ground invasion planning and a diplomatic process, saving 1.5 million Albanians from ethnic cleansing.

Today, Clark is a businessman, educator, writer and commentator. He serves as chairman and CEO of Wesley K. Clark & Associates, a strategic consulting firm; chairman and founder of Enverra Inc., a licensed investment bank; chairman of Energy Security Partners LLC; as well as numerous corporate boards including BNK Petroleum and Equinox Gold. 

He is active in energy, including oil and gas, biofuels, electric power and batteries, finance and security. During his business career he has served as an advisor, consultant or board member of more than 90 private and publicly traded companies. 

In the not-for-profit space, in addition to his work with Renew America Together, he is a senior fellow at UCLA's Burkle Center for International Relations, director of the Atlantic Council; and founding chair of City Year Little Rock/North Little Rock. A best-selling author, Clark has written four books and is a frequent contributor on TV and to newspapers.

His awards include the Presidential Medal of Freedom, Defense Distinguished Service Medal (five awards), Silver Star, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, honorary knighthoods from the British and Dutch governments, and numerous other awards from other governments, including award of Commander of the Legion of Honor (France). He has also been awarded the Department of State Distinguished Service Award and numerous honorary doctorates and civilian honors.

The Honors College Mic lecture series showcases notable leaders and top faculty members who share insights and expertise on a wide range of topics. Overall, these lectures foster intellectual conversation at the University of Arkansas through dialogue between lecturer and student, faculty and staff, and the wider populace.

About the Honors College: The University of Arkansas Honors College was established in 2002 and brings together high-achieving undergraduate students and the university’s top professors to share transformative learning experiences. Each year the Honors College awards up to 90 freshman fellowships that provide $72,000 over four years, and more than $1 million in undergraduate research and study abroad grants. The Honors College is nationally recognized for the high caliber of students it admits and graduates. Honors students enjoy small, in-depth classes, and programs are offered in all disciplines, tailored to students’ academic interests, with interdisciplinary collaborations encouraged. Fifty percent of Honors College graduates have studied abroad and 100 percent of them have engaged in mentored research.

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3% of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

Lynda Coon, dean
Honors College, and interim dean of Libraries
479-575-2089, llcoon@uark.edu

Kendall Curlee, director of communications
Honors College
479-575-2024, kcurlee@uark.edu

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