On Jan. 19, members of the Houston and Rice University communities gathered at the Baker Institute for an address by The Honorable Robert O. Blake, Jr., assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs.
A career Foreign Service officer who previously served as ambassador to Sri Lanka and Maldives, Blake discussed the Obama administration"s priorities in South and Central Asia. These objectives include supporting international efforts in Afghanistan; building a strategic partnership with India; and developing more durable and stable relations with Central Asian countries. He also delved into energy resources in Central Asia, an issue of particular interest to Houston.
In recent years, the Baker Institute has featured a number of events regarding Central and South Asia. In 2010, His Excellency Husain Haqqani, ambassador of Pakistan to the United States, spoke on "The Evolving Relationship Between Pakistan and the United States"; and retired CIA officer Milton Bearden discussed U.S.-Afghanistan policy options. Her Excellency Meera Shankar, ambassador of India to the United States, addressed "India and the United States: A Partnership for Prosperity" in 2009. The institute has also featured His Excellency Syed Mustafa Kamal, former mayor of Karachi; Gretchen Peters, author of the book "Seeds of Terror"; and His Excellency Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, foreign minister of Pakistan.
The Honorable Robert O. Blake, Jr., and The Honorable Edward P. Djerejian meet with students before Blake's lecture at the Baker Institute.
The Honorable Robert O. Blake, Jr., assistant U.S. secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs, speaks at the Baker Institute on Jan. 19, 2011.