Published on February 19, 2014 by Mary Wimberley  
David Dunford

Former U.S. Ambassador to Oman David J. Dunford will share insights from his 29-year U.S. Foreign Service career during a visit to Samford University March 3-7 as the 2014 Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow.

The career diplomat and Middle East expert will meet with Samford students and faculty and community members in a variety of settings on and off campus.

Dunford's foreign service career included three years in the Oman post and four years as deputy ambassador to Saudi Arabia during the 1990-91 Gulf War.

In 2003, he worked in Iraq as the senior official in charge of reorganizing Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. His other assignments included economic minister-counselor in Cairo, director of Egyptian affairs in Washington, D.C.,  deputy assistant U.S. trade representative in the Executive Office of the President, and coordinator of the multinational team tasked with setting up MENABANK, a proposed regional multilateral development bank in Cairo.

Dunford now teaches courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict, Middle East business environment and globalization and global government at the University of Arizona, and consults for government and the private sector on Middle East issues. He is a former chairman of the board of the Association for International Practical Training, a non-profit organization specializing in international exchanges.

With retired Iraqi Ambassador Ghassan Muhsin Hussein, he is co-author of Talking to Strangers: The Struggle to Rebuild Iraq's Foreign Ministry (Southwestern College Academic Press 2013).

While at Samford, Dunford will address a student and community dinner audience on Tuesday, March 4, on the topic, "Making Sense of Today's Middle East." Tickets to that event are sold out.

In addition, he will lead faculty discussions on Talking with Strangers, advise students  on foreign service careers, meet with Samford's Model United Nations Team and University Fellows, make classroom talks on public administration and U.S. foreign relations, and take questions at meetings with the Birmingham Rotary Club and the Women's Committee of 100 for Birmingham. He will also meet with the Samford Film Club for a screening of a film on a related topic.

The Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellows program sponsors prominent artists, diplomats, journalists, business leaders and other professionals who visit campuses across the U.S. to dialogue with students and faculty members.  It is hoped that through classes, seminars, lectures and informal discussions, Fellows can create better understanding and new connections between academic and academic worlds.


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 37th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 97th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,758 students from 48 states and 22 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 3rd nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.