Connect Montana: Montana and US Post- Pandemic Outlook

Bill Fitzgerald, Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager, First Interstate Bank

“Montana and US Post-Pandemic Outlook” 


Tuesday, October 13th, 7:00-7:30 pm Mountain Time

Join Zoom Webcast by clicking HERE


Meeting ID: 860 4668 8605

Passcode: 983230

Mr. Fitzgerald will discuss the impact of the global pandemic on the Montana and greater US economies.  Of focus will be the significant changes to current economic indicators and a potential outlook as we recover from this disruption.

Bill is a Vice President and Senior Portfolio Manager with investment responsibility for individual and institutional portfolios.  He serves as the Chairman of the Investment Policy Committee and is a member of the First Interstate Bank Economic Committee. Prior to joining First Interstate Wealth Management, he was the Senior Portfolio Manager and Regional Vice President for Merrill Lynch Investment Managers where he partnered with the firm’s financial advisors and trust officers to provide customized portfolio solutions for clients. Mr. Fitzgerald received a B.A. in Management from Lynchburg College and an M.B.A., with a concentration in finance from the Carey Business School at Johns Hopkins University. He was a member of the CFA Institute, CFA Society of Washington, D.C., the Baltimore Security Analysts and the Washington Association of Money Managers.

This program series is generously sponsored by First Interstate Bank. 

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AWQ: Shifting Sands: The Arab Spring 10 Years On with Ambassador Patterson to Egypt, Ambassador Feierstein to Yemen, and Ambassador Gray to Tunisia

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

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AWQ: U.S. Foreign Service in the 21st Century with Ambassador Deborah McCarthy

Please join the Montana World Affairs Council for an Academic WorldQuest Program “U.S. Foreign Service in the 21st Century” with U.S. Ambassador Deborah McCarthy (ret.).

Monday, March 1st
10:30 AM – 11:45 AM MT

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

Ambassador Deborah McCarthy Bio:

Ambassador (ret) Deborah A. McCarthy is an expert on U.S. foreign and national security policy with over 30 years of diplomatic experience. Currently, she is a Fellow at Harvard University in the Advanced Leadership Initiative. She is the host/producer of the National Security Podcast series “The General and the Ambassador: A Conversation”.

Most recently, Ms. McCarthy was a visiting Fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. Previously, she was the U.S. Ambassador to Lithuania (2013-2016). She also served as the Deputy Ambassador at the U.S. Embassy in Greece and the U.S. Embassy in Nicaragua. In Washington, she was the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Narcotics and Law Enforcement, Senior Advisor for Counter Terrorism and Special Coordinator for Venezuela. Other diplomatic postings include: Consul General Montreal, Economic Counselor U.S. Embassy Paris, Financial Economist U.S. Embassy Rome and assignments in the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Ms. McCarthy received a B.A. in Economics from the University of Virginia and a joint Masters in Economics and Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is active on social media on U.S. foreign policy (Twitter: @Amb_DMcCarthy) and is a regular public speaker. She is a member of the Atlantic Council and American College of National Security Leaders. She serves on the Board of the Academy of Diplomacy , the Command and General Staff College Foundation as well as on the Advisory Council for the Master’s program in Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

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

Ambassador McCarthy is the host of “The General and The Ambassador.” To learn more about this podcast or join a podcast, please click here. 

To sign up for this program, please fill out this form by clicking here.

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