Mideast dialogue

Sen. Hillary Clinton to give 2004 Issam M. Fares Lecture

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton will deliver the 2004 Issam M. Fares Lecture on November 10 at 4:30 p.m. in the Gantcher Family Sports and Convocation Center on the Medford/Somerville campus.

U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton

Clinton's talk will follow a two-day conference on "Engaging in Dialogue on U.S. Foreign Policy," which will focus on issues related to the Middle East peace process; U.S. relations with the Arab world and with Muslim countries; and the conflict in Iraq.

"The timing [for the lecture and the conference] is not accidental," said Leila Fawaz, director of the Fares Center for Eastern Mediterranean Studies. "If we have a returning administration, or if we have a new administration, it might be productive to have a dialogue about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. And dialogue means a two-way conversation.

"Since 9/11, in some circles, the complexity of the issues involved has been reduced to 'the good, the bad and the ugly,' " said Fawaz, the Issam M. Fares Professor of Lebanese and Eastern Mediterranean Studies. "There are many voices in the Middle East in the same way that there are many voices in America," she said.

"Most of the people in the Middle East are moderates, and even within the moderates, there are differences of opinion. If we want to help make policy [that involves] other countries, we better know all the nuances...when you understand the issues, you are less judgmental and more effective."

That is also the theme of the foreign policy conference, scheduled for November 8 and 9 at the Cabot Intercultural Center. The conference is in response to a call from faculty and students for a more academic component to the annual Fares Lecture, Fawaz said.

The conference is open to all students, faculty and staff. Although registration is not mandatory, it is suggested that those wishing to attend contact Stephen Guerra, administrative coordinator of the Fares Center, at stephen.guerra@tufts.edu. Information about the conference can be found at http://farescenter.tufts.edu/events.

Among the topics to be covered at the conference are: "Building a More Informed and Engaged American Citizenry;" "Promoting Middle East Peace;" "Communicating with the Arab World;" "Engaging in Dialogue with the Muslim World" and "Learning Lessons from Iraq." Among the speakers will be John Shattuck, chief executive officer of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation; Edward Djerejian, founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University; and Ian S. Lustick, the Bess W. Heyman Professor of Political Science at the University of Pennsylvania.

"The slogan of the Fares Center is 'Lighting the Path to Understanding,' " Fawaz said. "The purpose is to bring people together. That fits the university's mission and the mission of President Bacow. He is a leader who inspires us to engage in dialogue."

Clinton, D-N.Y., is the only first lady ever elected to the Senate. She serves on the Senate committees on Armed Services, Environment and Public Works and Health, Education, Labor and Pensions. She is a graduate of Wellesley College and Yale Law School. Her latest book, Living History (Simon & Schuster, 2003), was an immediate best-seller.

Clinton's husband, President Bill Clinton, delivered the Fares Lecture in 2002. Other Fares speakers have included President George H.W. Bush, Colin Powell, Margaret Thatcher, James Baker, George Mitchell and Valery Giscard d'Estaing.

The Fares Lecture series was conceived in 1991 by Fares I. Fares, A93, a trustee and member of the university's International Board of Overseers and the Board of Overseers for Arts & Sciences and the son of former trustee Issam M. Fares, deputy prime minister of Lebanon. It is designed as a way of furthering understanding of issues facing the Middle East and is supported by an endowment from the Fares Foundation. Since graduating from Tufts, Fares Fares has remained active on the committee that plans the lecture series; he also serves on the executive committee of the Fares Center.