Monday, July 11, 2011

Foreign policy expert from Brookings Institution to launch speaker series

Michael O'Hanlon
 Author and Canandaigua native Michael O’Hanlon, a Washington think tank’s well-known expert on U.S. defense strategy, foreign policy and homeland security, is the premiere speaker for the new George M. Ewing Canandaigua Forum to be held this fall at Finger Lakes Community College.

O’Hanlon, director of research and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, will be the Forum’s first guest on Sunday, Nov. 20, at 4 p.m. at the college. Tickets go on sale this summer. Call (585) 785-1386 for more information.

O’Hanlon, a 1978 Canandaigua Academy graduate, authored four books in the last three years and is working on another. “Toughing It Out in Afghanistan” and “A Skeptic’s Case for Nuclear Disarmament” came out last year, and “The Science of War” and “Budgeting for Hard Power” in 2009. Following a recent trip to Afghanistan, he is working on a book about President Obama’s foreign policy while contributing to Brookings’ ongoing Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan analyses and commentaries.

“Landing Michael as our first guest is a tremendous coup,” said Meg Ewing, one of the organizers of the Canandaigua Forum and the daughter-in-law of the annual series’ namesake. “Not only is he a world-renowned expert on issues that are vital to the future of this world, but he has unique insights into the Canandaigua area and the people here.”
“Michael is very accomplished and extremely knowledgeable. I am looking forward to hearing him speak,” added Caroline Delavan of Canandaigua, also a Canandaigua Forum organizer.

O’Hanlon is the first of three guests scheduled for the inaugural George M. Ewing Canandaigua Forum, an annual series named after the longtime editor and publisher of the Daily Messenger and Messenger Post Media who died in 2009. Organizers announced plans for the series this spring after a major endowment from George M. Ewing Jr. Speakers for events scheduled for Feb. 12 and April 1 are expected to be announced later this summer.

In addition to authoring books and his work with Brookings, O’Hanlon has written several hundred opinion pieces in newspapers, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Times, and The Japan Times. He has also contributed to The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, and many other papers.

O’Hanlon has appeared on television or spoken on the radio about 2,000 times since September 11, 2001. He is also a commentator for Alhurra, a satellite TV station established by the U.S. government to balance media coverage of U.S. policy in the Middle East. He has been an informal advisor to General David Petraeus in recent years as well.

O'Hanlon was an analyst at the Congressional Budget Office from 1989 to1994. He also worked previously at the Institute for Defense Analyses. His Ph.D. from Princeton is in public and international affairs; his bachelor's and master's degrees, also from Princeton, are in the physical sciences. He served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Congo/Kinshasa (the former Zaire) from 1982-1984, where he taught college and high school physics in French.

He is a visiting lecturer at Princeton University, an adjunct professor at Johns Hopkins University, and a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

In 2001, he was named one of Canandaigua Academy’s Graduates of Distinction, an honor which includes a plaque in the halls of the Academy. He is the son of Dr. Edward and Frieda O’Hanlon; his mother was a longtime member of the Canandaigua school board and is one of the organizers of the Canandaigua Forum.

He and his wife, Cathryn Garland, have two daughters, Grace and Lily.

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