Answers to the decade-long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq remain elusive. An expert in security and diplomatic training, Geoffrey Gresh ’02 is helping his students challenge conventional wisdom and appreciate how interconnected the world is, in hopes they can collectively come up with solutions.
Gresh, an international affairs graduate, is assistant professor of international security studies, College of International Security Affairs, National Defense University, Washington, D.C., and nonresident senior fellow at the Institute for Global Maritime Studies.
Some of his students, involved in the Afghanistan Pakistan Hands Program, are experienced, high-ranking military officers. They are being trained in the languages, cultures, processes, and challenges of those countries, and then go on to develop close working relationships with their Afghan and Pakistani counterparts.
Gresh, who joined NDU in 2011, has a working command of Arabic, Turkish, French, Spanish, and German.
At Lafayette, Gresh spent semesters abroad in France and Germany, and was a resident adviser and founding member of Forensics Society. His honors thesis on the Ottoman Empire, advised by Andrew Fix, Dana Professor of History, expanded his worldview.
Gresh earned a Presidential Scholarship to study at American University in Cairo after graduation and went on to a Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarship to Istanbul, a U.S. Fulbright-Hays Grant to teach international relations at Salaheddin University in Erbil, Iraq, and a visiting fellowship at Sciences Po in Paris.
Nominated by a mentor at Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University, where he earned his Ph.D., Gresh became a lifetime fellow of the U.S.–Japan Leadership Program after two years of service.
Being a resident adviser helped Gresh develop his leadership philosophy that “many hands make light work.” He led fellow resident advisers in producing a quilt (now in the College archives) commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
“As a resident adviser, you mitigate crises, organize activities, get people involved in campus life, negotiate roommate conflicts, and try to make sure everyone stays safe,” he says. “The opportunities I had—from overseeing a floor to representing my class—were a microcosm of the many different challenges we face in the workplace and the world. My leadership abilities really fl owed from those opportunities.”