Campus News

Series of Lectures to Focus on the Future of the Middle East

Story posted October 27, 2003

"Perspectives on the Future of the Middle East," a lecture series addressing issues ranging from Jewish-Arab and U.S.-Israeli relations to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Middle East peace process, will be presented at Bowdoin College during the month of November.

All talks will be at 7 p.m. in Cleaveland Hall, Room 151, on the Bowdoin campus, and are free and open to the public. For more information call 725-3736.

On Monday, November 3, Forsan Hussein, a Palestinian-Israeli, will give a talk titled "The Future of Jewish-Arab Relations Within Israel: The Challenge of Coexistence."

One of every five Israeli citizens is a Palestinian Arab. Hussein, who has been at the forefront of promoting Jewish-Arab coexistence in Israel, will discuss what it is like to live as a Palestinian in a "Jewish state," what dilemmas the minority faces, and what the prospects for coexistence are.

On Friday, November 21, Ilan Peleg, an author who specializes in Arab-Jewish relations and the Middle East peace process, will give a talk titled "Will There Ever Be an Israeli-Palestinian Peace?"

The lecture will deal with the fundamental causes of the long conflict, and identify pre-conditions for reaching a lasting political settlement. Peleg will also focus on the personalities currently involved with the conflict and discuss domestic factors responsible for the continuation of the dispute.

The third and final lecture will be given Monday, November 24. Scott Lasensky, a specialist in American foreign policy and the Middle East, will give a talk titled "The Collapse of the Middle East Peace Process and the Future of U.S.-Israeli Relations."

Lasensky will discuss the U.S.-Israeli relationship and the challenges the U.S. will face given the continuing violence between Israelis and Palestinians. He will also offer long-range predictions concerning the future of the U.S.-Israeli relationship.

The series of lectures is sponsored by the John C. Donovan Lecture Fund, which sponsors Bowdoin lectures in the field of political science.

The Speakers:

Forsan Hussein is director of public affairs for The Abraham Fund Initiatives, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to promoting active coexistence between Arab and Jewish citizens of Israel. A Palestinian Israeli (Israeli Arab) born and raised in Sha'ab village located in the Galilee area of Israel, Hussein attended Brandeis University after receiving the Slifka Coexistence Scholarship, a full scholarship awarded to one Palestinian-Israeli and one Jewish-Israeli committed to the goals of peaceful coexistence between the two peoples. At Brandeis he majored in peace building, sociology and economics and minored in Near East and Judaic studies. For fifteen years he has been affiliated with several organizations working to build bridges between Arabs and Jews in the Middle East.

Ilan Peleg is the author and editor of six books and over 70 scholarly articles. His Human Rights in the West Bank and Gaza: Legacy and Politics (1995) won the Choice Award for outstanding scholarly book. His other books, which have dealt with Prime Minister Menachem Begin, Arab-Jewish relations in Israel, censorship around the world, human rights, and the Middle East peace process, have all won acclaim. Peleg is the Charles A. Dana Professor of Government and Law at Lafayette College, as well as a professor of Israel studies at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College in Philadelphia. He is editor of Israel Studies Forum: An Interdisciplinary Journal, and has appeared in forums on CNN, National Public Radio, and Voice of America.

Scott Lasensky teaches courses on international relations at Mount Holyoke College. He has worked as a fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York, and as a research fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington. He is a specialist in American foreign policy and the Middle East, with particular focus on U.S. involvement in Arab-Israeli relations. He served on Vice President Al Gore's presidential campaign as a senior foreign policy analyst, and worked as a writer for the Swiss-based World Economic Forum. He was the first recipient of the Yitzhak Rabin-Shimon Peres Peace Award for research on U.S.-Israel relations. He earned his Ph.D. at Brandeis University.

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