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CONTACT: LOIS GRAY
International Programs
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 335-2026
e-mail: lois-gray@uiowa.edu

Release: Jan. 19, 2000

Arab-Israeli peace process facilitator to speak at UI Jan. 23

IOWA CITY, Iowa – James J. Zogby, founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), will speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council (ICFRC) Sunday, Jan. 23 at 4 p.m. in the International Center Lounge at the University of Iowa. The theme of his speech will be "Is Syria Serious about Peace Negotiations? And Where is the Middle East in the U.S. Presidential Campaign?"

The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Free parking will be available in the International Center upper lot at the end of Ferson Avenue.

The AAI is a Washington, D.C.-based organization that serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab-American community. Since 1985 Zogby and AAI have led Arab American efforts to secure political empowerment in the United States. In this capacity, Zogby has also served as a bridge between the U.S. Arab-American community and the Arab world as he has become one of the most prominent resources on issues relating to the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy.

Zogby has played a direct role in facilitating the Arab-Israeli peace process. In 1991, he wrote a Middle East peace proposal, which was endorsed by the foreign ministers of Tunisia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Palestine Liberation Organization. In 1993, following the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian peace accord in Washington, he was asked by Vice President Al Gore to lead Builders for Peace, a private sector committee to promote U.S. business investment in the West Bank and Gaza. In his capacity as co-president of Builders, Zogby frequently traveled to the Middle East with delegations led by Vice President Gore and late Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown.

In 1994, with former U.S. Congressman Mel Levine, his colleague as co-president of Builders, Zogby led a U.S. delegation to the signing of the Israeli-Palestinian agreement in Cairo. Zogby also chaired a forum on the Palestinian economy at the Casablanca Economic Summit in 1994. Zogby also accompanied President Clinton and his delegation for his historic trip to Gaza in December 1998.

A lecturer and scholar on Middle East issues, U.S.-Arab relations, and the history of the Arab American community, Zogby appears frequently on television and radio on matters relating to the Middle East. He has appeared as a regular guest on all the major network news programs. He also hosts a popular weekly call-in program, "A Capital View," on the Arab Network of America, in both a televised and radio format. Zogby has also testified before U.S. House and Senate committees, has been a guest speaker on a number of occasions in the Secretary's Open Forum at the U.S. Department of State, has presented papers at research centers across the Arab world and has addressed the United Nations, the Arab League and other international forums.

Zogby is an accomplished and prolific writer on the Middle East. Since 1992, Zogby has written a weekly column on U.S. politics for the major newspapers of the Arab world, including Ash-Sharq Al-Awsat (London/ international), Arab News (Saudi Arabia), Al-Ahram (Egypt), Al-Qabas (Kuwait), and Al-Quds (Jerusalem). His columns and articles have also appeared in major U.S. newspapers, including The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and the Christian Science Monitor. For the past two decades, Zogby has been involved with a full range of organizations dealing with foreign policy. Zogby is a board member of Middle East Watch and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The event is co-sponsored by UI International Programs, and additional support comes from Hills Bank & Trust Co. For those unable to attend, WSUI-AM (910) will carry this program on Tuesday Jan. 25 following the noon news.

The Iowa City Foreign Relations Council is a non-profit association of community and university people interested in learning more about U.S. foreign policy, world affairs and current global issues impacting world societies. The group provides members with the opportunity to hear more than 35 experts per year who visit the UI campus and the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area.

ICFRC is part of International Programs, which consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean for International Programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.