Just last week, Grantham University staff members had the honor of attending a presentation from a Lieutenant Colonel of the Pakistan Army regarding his international experiences.

LTC Bilal S. Khan (pictured at right), who spoke during Grantham's third quarter Town Hall for employees, is presently attending the U.S. Army School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kan. In December, he will return to Pakistan to take command of an infantry battalion after two years of studying in the U.S.

“We consider ourselves very fortunate to have had LTC Khan join us,” Grantham University President Joseph McGrath said. “His insights into relations between the United States and Pakistan provided a deeper perspective for our staff. I think we all walked out of our meeting feeling as though we added a great deal to our base of knowledge.”

Impressions from LTC Khan's presentation:

1. Education is paramount to a peaceful and prosperous society.

Khan cited Pakistan's low literacy rate as one of the country's main challenges (the Foreign & Commonwealth Office cites Pakistan's literacy rate at 49.9%).

"All of our ills, if you trace them back, would lead to the same root cause: the lack of education," Khan said. "With terrorists, their breeding grounds are those areas where you don't have education or economic prosperity."

The next part of Khan's story was especially sobering. He explained how he had actually caught two suicide bombers in the past before they committed any heinous acts.

"It was all about how much money the handler was going to give to the families of these terrorists, 99% of the time," Khan recalled. "Ninety nine percent of the time, there was a promise their families would be taken care of, their lifestyle would increase exponentially, and of course, they would go to heaven and there would be angels waiting for them. They are absolutely brain-washed. So it's all about education. It's all about education."

2. Terrorism appears to be a major concern in Pakistan.

Khan said suicide and terrorist attacks in Pakistan were not common at all before 9/11. Since that time, Pakistan has had to combat the threat of Al-Qaeda and Taliban militants who flee from neighboring Afghanistan. Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally of the United States.

According to Khan, Pakistan has had 36,000 casualties because of terrorists since 2003. Of that number, 14,000 were military personnel.

3. There's no such thing as gathering too much information.

We live in an instant age of information and communication, whether it's via smart phones, television, web sites or social media. Information is all around us. Before making judgments on a specific topic or issue, Khan suggested gathering as much information as possible from reputable sources. This will enable us to make informed decisions or opinions.

4. Don't rush to judgment.

Khan, whose international experiences with various governments are wide-ranging, emphasized open communication between individuals and between countries as much as possible, so messages don't get lost or taken out of context.

He said unfortunately, miscommunication happens in today's society, particularly within the messages the media offers.

"As we can all see, media plays an important role in all of our lives," Khan said. "We are under the influence of the media 24/7. And what you see and hear in the media, regardless of what the ulterior motives or motivations are, is a lethal mix. The media blitz, coupled with lack of historical knowledge, and the kinds of opinions people develop, is not only naive most of the time, but couldn't be more distant than what reality would hope for."

More about LTC Khan:

LTC Khan attended basic military training at Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul, and graduated from the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, United Kingdom. He began his career in the Infantry in April 1995 and has held various command, staff, and instructional assignments. LTC Khan has also been an instructor, as well as the Adjutant, at the Pakistan Military Academy, Kakul.

He is a graduate of Pakistan Army Command and Staff College, Quetta and U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, Fort Leavenworth. Khan holds a bachelor’s degree in Political Science and a master’s degree in Military Art and Science of Warfare from Balochistan University, Pakistan.

About the author: Eric Sorrentino joined Grantham University as Social Media Manager in October 2011. Prior to that, he blogged about Big 12 Conference athletics for KUsports.com and was a sports copy editor for the Lawrence Journal-World. Eric received his bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Kansas.