July 26, 2021
10:00 am - 11:00 am


Zoom Webinar

In spring 2002, French philosopher and human rights activist Bernard-Henri Lévy traveled to an Afghanistan newly freed from Taliban control at the request of the French president to assess the conditions on the ground and determine how France could contribute to Afghanistan’s rebirth as a nation. In his subsequent report, Lévy pressed for France to take on a key role in areas ranging from strengthening the rule of law and women’s rights to helping to restore the country’s cultural heritage. 

Much has changed over the past two decades and as the U.S. and its international partners prepare to withdraw militarily from Afghanistan, MEI is pleased to announce the launch of a new book, Past as Prologue: Revisiting Bernard-Henri Lévy’s 2002 Report on Afghanistan. The book includes Lévy’s original report (translated into English for the first time) along with a foreword by General (ret.) David Petraeus and an introductory essay by Dr. Marvin G. Weinbaum. 

Following remarks by General (ret). Petraeus and Lévy, a panel of experts will discuss Lévy’s 2002 report and what has happened in the years since. What was once hoped and envisioned for the country? What has actually happened on the ground over the past two decades? How are Lévy’s recommendations relevant in today’s context?


Gen. (ret.) David Petraeus
Former commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan; former director, Central Intelligence Agency

Bernard-Henri Lévy
Philosopher, journalist, filmmaker, and public intellectual 

Javid Ahmad, discussant
Ambassador of Afghanistan to the United Arab Emirates; non-resident senior fellow, Atlantic Council

Marvin Weinbaum, discussant
Director, Afghanistan and Pakistan Studies, MEI

Additional speakers TBA