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U.S. Soft Power in Foreign Policy Series - Col. Christopher Conlin - "Iraq: Iron Hand, Velvet Glove, Glass House - Employing Soft Power in Hard Places"

  • June 10, 2021
  • 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM

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The San Diego World Affairs Council & the World Affairs Council of Inland Southern California present the 

U.S. Soft Power in Foreign Policy Series

Col. Christopher Conlin 

United States Marine Corps (Retired) 


Iraq: Iron Hand, Velvet Glove, Glass House - Employing Soft Power in Hard Places 

Thursday, 10th June 2021 from 6:30-8:00 p.m. (PST) 

As a government executive and retired United States Marine, Chris brings the unique experiences of forty years of service to our nation including operations in many of the world’s most hostile environments. He has led multiple large organizations as challenging as front-line combat battalions and as complex as the Iraqi Province of Najaf.

Chris was commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1981 following his graduation from the University of Rochester (New York). He subsequently was on active duty leading a variety of operational and training commands from 40-man rifle platoons to combat battalions of over 1,500 personnel. He retired after 30 years of continuous service with the rank of Colonel.

Career highlights include: leading an infantry company of 200 Marines during the liberation of Kuwait, serving as the commander of a combined Marine and SEAL Special Operations Unit during operations in the Mideast, and leading a Battalion Task Force during the liberation of Iraq. He also served as the Provisional Governor of Najaf Province in Iraq, the equivalent in population and area of New Hampshire. As a senior officer, Chris developed policies and venues for federal level departments and international level interagency collaboration in crisis response.

Chris currently serves as the Assistant City Manager for Public Safety in Sacramento, California where he provides executive oversight of the Police and Fire Departments, Office of Community Response, Office of Emergency Management, and the Youth, Parks & Community Enrichment Department (YPCE). Previously, he was the City’s Interim Fire Chief and the Director of Parks and Recreation. Prior to joining the City of Sacramento, Chris served an appointment from Governor Jerry Brown as a Deputy Director (Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation and Boating & Waterways) in the California Department of Parks and Recreation.

He is a subject matter expert in mission-focused leadership, complex team/coalition building, strategic management, operational decision making, standards-based training, and crisis management. His major media appearances include: CBS’ “60 Minutes”, CNN, NBC, NPR, and Al Jazeera news programs, as well as MSNBC talk shows, History Channel documentaries, and multiple national newspapers.

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San Diego World Affairs Council (SDWAC)

PO Box 34010

San Diego, CA 92163


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