5 June 2018


Dear Colleagues,


Thank you for this, and for the time and concern it demonstrates.  It is heartening to see such enthusiasm to better our organization, a sentiment shared by everyone engaged in this broad discussion, ranging from SHAFR’s membership to its elected leadership.


This response will not address the format or selection of the keynote address, which is not within the Program Committee’s purview.   We instead focus on the new roundtable we have proposed, structured upon our understanding of your initial open letter, which made General David Petraeus’ record on counter-insurgency the basis of your objections to his selection as the keynote.


While some members of SHAFR agree with your reading of the record and your objections to the invitation, others do not.  Our goal as program chairs is to provide a forum for intellectual engagement without privileging one interpretive frame over another.  Accordingly, we have constructed this roundtable to provide a platform for a wide-ranging airing of views and discussion, and we will instruct the session’s chair to ensure the equitable allocation of time for participants while reserving time for audience participation.


We therefore hope you will take this opportunity to shape an important discussion by joining the roundtable.  Please let us know your decision by June 8, 2018, so we might have time to finalize logistics and programming surrounding the session.


Yours in SHAFR,


Kate and Jeff