Spotlight on the Middle East, Washington and Lee University's Contact-sponsored speaker series will present four different lectures on the Middle East. On Monday, Oct. 29, Ambassador Dennis B. Ross will give a talk on Spotlight on Diplomacy in the Middle East.
Ambassador Ross is a former special Middle East coordinator and current Counsler and Ziegler Distinguished Fellow of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Ross is the first chairman of a new Jerusalem-based think tank, the Institute for Jewish People Policy Planning, funded and founded by the Jewish Agency.
All four talks, which are free and open to the public, will be at 7:30 p.m. in Lee Chapel. The first lecture is co-sponsored by the W&L Politics Department.
Ross played a leading role in shaping U.S. involvement in the Middle East peace process and in dealing directly with the negotiations for more than 12 years. A highly skilled diplomat, Ross was the point man for the U.S. in both the Bush and Clinton administrations in exploring all avenues and approaches to settling this conflict. He was instrumental in assisting the Israelis and Palestinians in reaching the 1995 Interim Agreement, and he successfully brokered the Hebron Accord in 1997. He facilitated the Israeli-Jordan peace treaty and intensively worked to bring Israel and Syria together.
Ambassador Ross is a foreign affairs analyst for the Fox News Channel in addition to being a frequent commentator in The Washington Post, The Financial Times and U.S. News and World Report. His work has appeared in such journals as Foreign Affairs, The National Interest, Washington Quarterly and Foreign Policy.
The second lecture of the series, Spotlight on Culture in the Middle East, will be given by author Davar Ardalan on Tuesday, Nov. 13. She has worked as a news anchor in Iran and upon her return to the U.S. became the producer of NPR's Morning Edition.
Spotlight on Religion in the Middle East will be the third lecture on Tuesday, Nov. 27, and will be given by Ambassador Akbar Ahmed, the Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies at American University in Washington. He is "the world's leading authority on contemporary Islam," according to the BBC.
The final lecture of the series, Spotlight on War in the Middle East, will be Thursday, March 6, 2008, and will be given by Gen. Anthony Zinni. A retired general in the Marine Corps, Gen. Zinni is a former commander-in-chief of U.S. Central Command, and has been a public critic of the Bush administration.