The University of Central Oklahoma will welcome Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to former Secretary of State Colin Powell from 2002-05, for the special presentation “We Need Not Be Enemies: Iran and the U.S. in the 21st Century” at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Nigh University Center Ballroom C.

The presentation is free and open to the public.

Since his retirement, Wilkerson has been outspoken regarding America’s relationship with countries in the Middle East, specifically Iran and Iraq. His presentation will explore opportunities for improving the often-volatile relationship between the U.S. and Iran.

“Col. Wilkerson brings a unique perspective to Middle Eastern relations through his first-hand experience in the region. Our hope is for the audience to challenge their own perspectives as a result of his presentation, and leave with a greater understanding of our globally-connected society,” said UCO President Don Betz, who has worked with the United Nations on Middle Eastern issues.

Before serving under Powell in the State Department, Wilkerson served 31 years in the U.S. Army including positions as Deputy Executive Officer to then-Gen. Powell (1989), as Special Assistant to Powell when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (1989-93) and as Director and Deputy Director of the U.S. Marine Corps War College at Quantico, Va. (1993-97).

Wilkerson is currently the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Government and Public Policy at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va., and serves as a frequent commentator and speaker throughout the country.   

To ask questions, call (405) 974-2311.