Author, journalist and documentary filmmaker Robert Young Pelton, will speak at the Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla Lecture Series being held Wednesday, October 10 at 7 p.m. in the University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown Pasquerilla Performing Arts Center.
A self-styled adventurer, Mr. Pelton considers himself a “witness” to conflict, rather than a journalist. He prefers to use his experiences and coverage to create his own book and television projects. He has made a career of bypassing the media, border guards and the military in his goal of getting to the heart of the story. He has traveled through the world’s most dangerous places and has shared risks with his hosts and often has become the sole surviving witness to history-shaping events. His recent journeys have taken him inside the siege of Grozny in Chechnya, the battle of Qala-I-Jangi in Afghanistan, the rebel campaign to take Monrovia in Liberia, inside the hunt for Bin Laden in the Tribal Areas with the CIA, with insurgents during the war in Iraq and running RPG Alley every day for four weeks with Blackwater in Baghdad.
His goal as a neutral observer and accurate chronicler of events has earned him access on all sides of many wars including being the only journalist in combat operations with U.S. Special Forces in Afghanistan and other covert and private military groups.
His travels have not been without penalty. He has been kidnapped by right wing death squads in Colombia, survived a plane crash in Indonesia, a head on motorcycle accident in Peru and gracefully endured numerous detainments and attacks.
His access has allowed him to return with stunning interviews, surprising stories and unforgettable footage for his articles, documentaries and books.
In addition to his work for National Geographic Adventure, Mr. Pelton has worked for Discovery Channel, National Geographic Channel, ABC News, CBS 60 Minutes, CNN and other major media networks.
Mr. Pelton is the author of Licensed to Kill, the Privatization of the War on Terror, which gives an inside look at the world of security contractor firms. He also has published The World’s Most Dangerous Places, which provides practical and survival information for people who work and travel in high risk zones. He was also host of the Discovery Channel series Robert Young Pelton’s The World’s Most Dangerous Places from 1998 to 2003.
For more information about Robert Young Pelton, visit www.comebackalive.com.
Free and open to the public. For more information, call 800-846-2787 or 269-7200 or visit www.upj.pitt.edu/ArtsCenter.
The Frank J. and Sylvia T. Pasquerilla Lecture Series was established in 1999 to bring speakers of renown in all academic disciplines to the area. Upon announcing the gift, Mark E. Pasquerilla said, “Our endowment for a lecture series should enable large intellectual personalities to visit the area. Imagine Stephen Hawking or a Nobel Prize laureate speaking in Johnstown for the first time. It is important to fill one’s life with inspiring, unforgettable moments. Hopefully, our gift will do this for some of the students at UPJ.”
Past speakers in the lecture series included Dutch feminist, New York Times best-selling author, and one of Europe’s foremost critics of Islam, Ayaan Hirsi Ali; journalist, author, and current editor of Atlantic Monthly, Robert D. Kaplan; British journalist, historian, author, and former editor of The London Evening Standard, Sir Max Hastings; economic historian Niall Ferguson; internationally-known author Charles McCarry; best-selling author Robert Kagan; veteran case officer of the CIA’s Directorate of Operations and author Robert Baer; author and journalist Peter Bergen; political consultant David Garth, and author and critic Stanley Crouch.
UPJ is a vital knowledge center defining excellence and a foremost contributor to the area’s educational, social, cultural and economic environment through: excellent faculty teaching, scholarship, and service, as well as enriching faculty-student mentorships and collaborations in scholarship, research, and creative activity; operating as a top employer and key partner in shaping the economic future with an annual impact exceeding $60 million; engaging the community through exceptional volunteerism by faculty, staff, and students; expanding the workforce capacity by linking theory to practice through experiences such as internships and service learning projects; exceeding the national averages of student graduation and retention rates of similar institutions; a tradition of athletic excellence, with nationally recognized and award-winning programs; 17,000 alumni making a difference throughout the community and world; and by growing partnerships with businesses in areas such as healthcare, education, commerce, technology and the arts.