Charles Dunbar

KENNEBUNK — Former Ambassador Charles Dunbar retired from senior posts at the State Department and United Nations, will discuss current U.S. policy challenges in Afghanistan at the March meeting of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO), Maine Chapter.

The presentation, “Afghanistan: Bad If We Stay; Worse If We Leave,” is open to the public and will begin at 2 p.m. March 16 at the Brick Store Museum Program Center, 4 Dane St., Kennebunk. A question and answer period will follow the speech.

Dunbar joined the United States foreign service in 1962. He served as an advisor on Middle East and Islamic issues in the U.S. Department of State, from 1991 to 1993. In that capacity, he held discussions with Middle Eastern governments on human rights concerns and worked closely with the U.S. and Tunisian governments in organizing a rule-of-law seminar in Tunis.

From 1988 to 1991, he served as the U.S. ambassador to Yemen. He served as a special assistant (for Afghanistan) to the U.S. assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs (1985-1988); ambassador to Qatar (1983-1985); and chargé d’affaires in Afghanistan (1981-1983).

From 1962 to 1981, Dunbar worked in the U.S. embassies in Tehran, Kabul, Rabat, Algiers and Nouakchott. He also served in the U.S. consulate in Isfahan, Iran.

As a result of his service in Rabat, Algiers and Nouakchott, Dunbar became the leading U.S. government expert on the conflict in Western Sahara.

He received a Master of Arts degree from the School of International Affairs at Columbia University in 1961, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in history from Harvard College in 1959. He speaks Arabic, French and Persian.

All told, Dunbar spent 32 years with the State Department, including as charge d’affaires in Kabul, as well as ambassador postings in Yemen and Qatar, and assignments in Iran, Afghanistan, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania.

He served two years as UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s special representative in Western Sahara, and has taught at Simmons College, Boston University and Midcoast Senior College in Brunswick.