University of Pittsburgh
March 28, 2016

Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction John F. Sopko to Speak at Pitt March 30


Sharon Blake


Cell: 412-277-6926

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PITTSBURGH—John F. Sopko, who in his job as Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) is closely monitoring U.S. stabilization and reconstruction efforts in that war-torn area, will speak at the University of Pittsburgh at noon March 30 in room 3911 of Wesley W. Posvar Hall, 230 S. Bouquet St., Oakland.John F. Sopko 

His talk, titled “An Existential Threat: U.S. Oversight of and Responses to Corruption in Afghanistan,” is free and open to the public. The presentation will focus on how to train future generations of America’s foreign-policy professionals to deal with complex problems in insecure environments.

Sopko was appointed to his post as SIGAR on July 2, 2012. His work involves determining whether or not the U.S. government mismanaged assistance to Afghanistan.

Sopko’s visit to Pitt coincides with the launch of a new concentration in Pitt’s Graduate School of Public and International Affairs—Governance and International Public Management. While GSPIA has long attracted international students who return to their native countries with a master’s degree in public administration, this particular two-year program prepares them to effectively design and manage programs in an international setting.

Sopko’s visit is cosponsored by GSPIA, the University Center for International Studies, and the Center for International Legal Education.

About John F. Sopko
John F. Sopko came to his current position with more than 30 years of experience in oversight and investigations as a prosecutor, congressional counsel, and senior federal government advisor. On Capitol Hill, he held key positions in both the Senate and House of Representatives—on the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Select Committee on Homeland Security, and Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations.

Sopko has supervised investigations on matters regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce, Federal Communications Commission, and other bodies. He has investigated a broad range of issues, from health care insurance to the protection of critical infrastructure and from cybersecurity to the potential spread of weapons of mass destruction in the former Soviet Union and elsewhere.

Following his work in the Senate, Sopko was recruited by the commerce secretary to manage the department’s response to multiple congressional, grand-jury, and press inquiries. He was named deputy assistant secretary for enforcement for the Bureau of Export Administration and deputy assistant secretary for the National Telecommunications and Information Administration.

Previously, as a trial attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice Organized Crime and Racketeering Section, he conducted numerous long-term grand-jury investigations and prosecutions against organized crime groups. Sopko began his career as a state prosecutor in Dayton, Ohio. He was an adjunct faculty member at American University’s School of Justice, where he received the Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Teaching Award and the Professor of the Year Award. He received his law degree from Case Western University School of Law; his bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania; and is a member of the bars of Ohio and the District of Columbia.