Thomas E. Gouttierre serves as the Dean of International Studies and Programs (IS&P)and Director of the Center for Afghanistan Studies at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO). He also served as the Dean of IS&P at the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) from 1987 until 2010.
Gouttierre was raised in Maumee, Ohio, where he worked in his father’s pastry shop from age 8 to age 24, receiving his Master Baking Certificate at the age of 18. He lived and worked for nearly ten years in Afghanistan; between 1965 and 1974, Gouttierre served as a Peace Corps Volunteer, a Fulbright Fellow, and Executive Director of the Fulbright Foundation. Throughout this time in Afghanistan, Gouttierre coached the Afghan National Basketball Team.
Gouttierre again served in Afghanistan when he was selected by the US Department of State to serve as Senior Political Affairs Officer on the United Nations Special Mission to Afghanistan (UNSMA) in 1996/1997. He has participated in Fulbright Programs in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Norway, France, India, Nepal, and Germany. He served as a member of the International Rescue Committee’s Citizens Commission on Afghanistan Refugees from 1988-1993. In 1995/1996, he served as President of the Omaha Rotary Club. In June 1992, the University of the City of Manila in the Philippines conferred upon Gouttierre the degree of Doctor of Humanities (honoris causa); in May 1997, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate from the Technological University of Tajikistan; in May 2004, he was appointed Honorary Senator of the Technical University of Braunschweig (Germany); in May 2001, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of International Relations from his undergraduate alma mater, Bowling Green State University (BGSU). In addition, in August 2005, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Bowling Green State University. In May 2007, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Seton Hill University. Gouttierre was honored in April 2010 as one of the 100 most prominent graduates of BGSU during the institution’s centennial celebration.
Gouttierre has testified on various topics related to Afghanistan, US-Pakistani Relations, International Terrorism, and Human Rights before hearings of the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the US House of Representatives Committee on International Relations. He has also testified on Afghanistan and Human Rights Issues in hearings before committees of the British Parliament, the French National Assembly, the Norwegian Storting, and the UN Select Committee on Human Rights. Since 1986, Gouttierre has served on the US – Russian (formerly Soviet Union) Task Force (Dartmouth Conference) on Regional Conflicts. He is a Board Member of the International Institute for Sustained Dialogue.
Gouttierre has made presentations on topics as diverse as Afghanistan, Regional Conflicts, Education Development, Global Terrorism, US Foreign Policy, Third World Development, the Persian Gulf War, etc. at US State Department conferences and meetings, world affairs and foreign relations organizations, university and college campuses, service clubs, church organizations, and schools. He has conducted orientation programs for US military assigned to Afghanistan. Gouttierre is regularly called upon by representatives of the international, national, and local media and by various organizations to present his opinion on these topics; in the first ten months after 9/11, he had more than 2000 presentations and interviews.
Gouttierre speaks, reads, and writes Afghan Persian (Dari), Iranian Persian (Farsi), and Tajikistani Persian; he has also studied Arabic, French, German, Latin, Russian, and Spanish. His publications include numerous articles about Afghanistan society, culture, and politics; a co-authored, two-volume language textbook, Dari for Foreigners; a co-authored Bibliography of Persian Works in English; original Dari poetry; and a variety of magazine and newspaper articles on other international topics. He was the project director for the development of the 23,000-word Dari-English Dictionary.
Gouttierre and his associates at UNO have obtained grants and contracts in excess of $100 million. Through one series of grants awarded by USAID between 1986 and 1994, the Center for Afghanistan Studies assisted Afghans deliver education to over 130,000 Afghan children in refugee camps in Pakistan and 1,300 sites inside war-torn Afghanistan; under another series, beginning in 2002, the Center trained teachers and printed the textbooks needed by the Afghans to reopen their schools after decades of war that had culminated in the fall of the Taliban; under still another grant, the Center assisted the Department of State re-start the US Fulbright Program in Afghanistan in 1993-94 after a hiatus of 25 years.
During the years Gouttierre has served as Dean, UNO has established active institutional linkages with universities in Afghanistan, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, China, the Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, India, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Nicaragua, Norway, Pakistan, the Philippines, Romania, Russia, South Africa, Tajikistan, and Ukraine. Often in conjunction with these linkages, UNO has conducted exchange programs and provided training to educators and other professionals in teacher-training; American business communication, management, and insurance practices; project management; public administration; higher education reconstruction and development; intensive English; conflict resolution; and related areas.