College to launch
Center for Middle Eastern Dialogue
to promote greater understanding of region
This spring the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the State University of New York at New Paltz will launch The Center for Middle Eastern Dialogue with its inaugural event which will focus on “Recent and Future U.S. Policy in the Middle East” at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 6, in Lecture Center 100. Admission is free and open to the public.
James Schiffer, Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at New Paltz, said the purpose of the center will be to promote constructive dialogue about the Middle East that will explore ways of establishing lasting peace in the region, encouraging economic collaboration, and stimulating cultural and educational exchange. Schiffer added that he has been working with a large faculty committee that includes colleagues from the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the School of Fine and Performing Arts and the School of Business to plan the April 6 and future events.
“Our hope is that scholars and diplomats of various points of view will exchange ideas in a respectful way that will promote greater understanding of this complex and explosive region of the world,” said Schiffer. “We believe that the center will demonstrate for our students and community the possibility and value of meaningful dialogue between people of goodwill, even between those who seriously disagree on fundamental issues.”
The inaugural event will be a discussion between Professor Fawaz A. Gerges, the Christian A. Johnson Chair in International Affairs and Arab and Muslim Politics at Sarah Lawrence College, and Lewis Brownstein, professor of International Relations at the SUNY New Paltz. They will be discussing “Recent and Future U.S. Policy in the Middle East.” Each speaker will give a presentation, followed by a period for questions and answers.
Gerges is author of two recently acclaimed books: “Journey of the Jihadist: Inside Muslim Militancy” (Harcourt Press, 2007) and “The Far Enemy: Why Jihad Went Global” (Cambridge University Press, 2005). He is now working on a book tentatively titled “Understanding Muslim Politics: From Nasser to Bin Laden.” Gerges has been the recipient of several awards, including MacArthur, Fulbright and Carnegie Fellowships.
Educated at Oxford University and the London School of Economics, professor Gerges’ special interests include Islam and the political process, social movements, Arab and Muslim politics, American foreign policy towards the Muslim world, the modern history of the Middle East, the Arab-Israeli conflict, and history of conflict, diplomacy and foreign policy, and historical sociology.
Gerges’ articles and editorials have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Baltimore Sun, The Independent, Al Hayat, Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, Democracy and Survival and others. Gerges has given interviews for various media outlets throughout the world, including ABC, CNN, BBC, PBS, CBS, NPR, CBC and Al Jazeera.
Brownstein joined the faculty of New Paltz in 1968 after completing his doctorate at the School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University. His doctoral research was conducted in Kenya, where he lived for a year. In 1974-75 he taught as a visiting professor of International Relations at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and has returned numerous times to the area on research trips and study missions. He teaches courses on terrorism, defense issues, the international relations of the Middle East, American foreign policy and related topics. He served for 12 years as chair of his department and gives numerous lectures on his areas of expertise in the Mid-Hudson region.
Next spring, Schiffer said they are planning for a day-long conference with keynote speakers, panel discussions on a variety of topics, a museum exhibition of art from various Middle Eastern countries, and music, theatre and cuisine from the region.
For more information about The Center for Middle Eastern Dialogue and the event planned for April 6, contact Dr. Schiffer at (845) 257-3520.
Located in the heart of a dynamic college town, 90 minutes from metropolitan New York City, the State University of New York at New Paltz is a highly selective college of about 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students.
One of the most well-regarded public colleges in the nation, New Paltz delivers an extraordinary number of majors in Business, Liberal Arts, Sciences, Engineering, Fine and Performing Arts and Education.
New Paltz embraces its culture as a community where talented and independent minded people from around the world create close personal links with real scholars and artists who love to teach.