Please join the Montana World Affairs Council for an Academic WorldQuest program “Shifting Sands: The Arab Spring 10 Years On” with U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson to Egypt (ret.), U.S. Ambassador Gerald Feierstein to Yemen (ret.) and U.S. Ambassador Gordon Gray to Tunisia (ret.).

Tuesday, March 2nd
10:30 AM- 12:00 PM MT

Educators who sign up will receive a zoom link and password the week before the program.

Ambassador Anne Patterson Bio:
Ambassador Anne Patterson is the former Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (2013-2017) and Ambassador to Egypt (2011-2013), Pakistan (2007-2010), Colombia (2000-2003), and El Salvador (1997-2000). Post retirement, Patterson has served on the Board of Advisors of the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs at Yale University, as President of the US Qatar Business Council, and on the Dow Jones Oversight Committee. She retired from the U.S. State Department with the rank of Career Ambassador after more than four decades in the Foreign Service. Amb. Patterson also served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, as well as Deputy Permanent Representative to the United Nations, among other important assignments. In July 2017, Amb. Patterson was also appointed to the National Defense Strategy Commission, charged by Congress with conducting a bipartisan and independent review of the country’s national security needs.

Ambassador Gerald Feierstein Bio:
Jerry Feierstein retired from the U.S. Foreign Service in May 2016 after a 41-year career. At the time of his retirement, Feierstein held the personal rank of Career Minister. Over the course of his career, he served in nine overseas postings, including three tours of duty in Pakistan, as well as tours in Saudi Arabia, Oman, Lebanon, Jerusalem, and Tunisia. In 2010, President Obama appointed Feierstein U.S. Ambassador to Yemen, where he served until 2013. From 2013 until his retirement, Feierstein was Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs.

In addition to his career-long focus on the Near East and South Asia, Feierstein also played a prominent role in developing and implementing State Department policies and programs to counter violent extremism. As Deputy Coordinator and Principal Deputy Coordinator in the State Department’s Counter-Terrorism bureau, Feierstein led the development of initiatives to build regional networks to confront extremist groups as well as to counter terrorist financing and promote counter-terrorism messaging. He continued to focus on defeating terrorist groups through his subsequent tours as Deputy Chief of Mission in Pakistan and as Ambassador to Yemen.
Feierstein joined the Middle East Institute in October 2016 as a Senior Fellow and the Director of a new Center for Gulf Affairs. In November 2018, he was appointed Senior Vice President by the MEI Board of Directors.

Ambassador Gordon Gray Bio:
Gordon Gray is the Chief Operating Officer at the Center for American Progress. Prior to his retirement from the U.S. government after 35 years of public service, Ambassador Gray was the Deputy Commandant at the National War College. He was the U.S. Ambassador to Tunisia from 2009 until 2012, witnessing the start of the Arab Spring and directing the U.S. response in support of Tunisia’s transition. He served in Iraq as Senior Advisor to the Ambassador from 2008-2009, focusing on governance and infrastructure in the southern provinces. Before that, Ambassador Gray was Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2005 until 2008; his responsibilities included the promotion of U.S. interests in the Arabian Peninsula and North Africa, and oversight of the bureau’s Regional Affairs office.

His other foreign assignments included Egypt (where he served as Deputy Chief of Mission from 2002 until 2005), Canada, Jordan, Pakistan, and Morocco, where he began his career in government as a Peace Corps volunteer. Before joining the Center for American Progress, Ambassador Gray was the Executive Vice President at the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce.

Ambassador Gray received his B.A. from Yale and his M.A. from Columbia, as well as an honorary M.S. from the National Defense University. He is a member of the American Foreign Service Association, the Middle East Institute, the American Academy of Diplomacy, and the Board of Directors of the Tunisian-American Young Professionals Association. Ambassador Gray twice received the Presidential Meritorious Service award, as well as other awards for exceptional service.

He and his wife have three adult children. In addition to spending time with his family, he enjoys distance running and has run marathons and half-marathons in Europe, North Africa, and the United States.

To sign up for this program, please click here. 

For questions, please email Nikki Geiszler, Programs Director, at