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Release: Oct. 14, 2002

Leading Middle East scholar to speak at UI Oct. 31

One of the world’s leading scholars of the modern Middle East will visit the University of Oct. 29-Nov. 1 as an Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Lecturer, sponsored and hosted by the UI Center for Human Rights.

Rashid I. Khalidi, professor of history and of Near Eastern languages and civilizations and director of the Center for International Studies at the University of Chicago, will give a free public lecture, meet with students and faculty members, speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, and appear as a guest on Iowa Talks (WSUI-AM 910) during his UI visit.

His Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Lecture, “The United States and the Muslim World: Clash of Cultures or Mutual Misperception,” begins at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31 in Buchanan Auditorium (Room W10) Pappajohn Business Building. Following the lecture, Khalidi will take questions from the audience. In a preview to his lecture, Khalidi will be a guest on Iowa Talks (WSUI-AM 910) at 10 a.m. Oct. 31.

Khalidi's research and teaching encompass the history of the modern Middle East with an emphasis on national identity and the involvement of external powers in the region. He focuses in particular on the role of the press in the formation of new publics and new senses of community, the place of education in the construction of identity, and the way narratives of self and other have interacted over the past two centuries in this conflicted region.

He is a prodigious scholar and author with five books and more than 70 articles and book chapters to his name. In addition, he has been honored with numerous scholarships, fellowships, grants, and prizes, including awards from The Ford Foundation, the Woodrow Wilson International Center, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In 1997, he was a co-winner of the Middle East Studies Association Albert Hourani Book Award for his book “Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness.”

“Professor Khalidi will bring to the University of Iowa campus not only the fruits of his penetrating Middle East scholarship but, as well, his extensive experience as a lecturer and consultant on Middle East affairs,” said Burns Weston, director of the UI Center for Human Rights and emeritus professor of law. “He has earned a widespread reputation as an engaging, incisive, and eloquent speaker who, among a regrettable few, can bring to the discussion of contentious Middle East issues a measure of objectivity and reason that is, quite simply, disarming and persuasive.”

In addition to his Oct. 31 lecture, Khalidi will speak to the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council about “The United States, the Palestinian Question, and the Arab World,” on Wednesday, Oct. 30 from noon-1:30 p.m. The lecture is open to the public in the fellowship hall of the Congregational Church, 30 N. Clinton St. Those wishing to join the luncheon must register in advance. Call 335-0351 for more information.

Khalidi will also speak to several classes while at the UI. Visitors are welcome to join the following discussions, but in some cases seating may be limited:

* Oct. 29, 2:30 to 3:45 p.m.—Discussion with undergraduates in UI political science professor Vicki Hesli’s class, “The Politics of Ethnic and Cultural Conflict,” in room 345 Schaeffer Hall

* Oct. 30, 9:30 to 10:20 a.m.—Discussion with undergraduate students about the U.S. media coverage of the Middle East and international affairs in general, hosted by UI journalism professor Judy Polumbaum in room 1505 Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences

* Oct. 30, 8 to 10 p.m.—Discussion with students in UI geography and global studies professor Rex Honey’s class, “Understanding the Middle East,” in room 1505 Seamans Center for the Engineering Arts and Sciences

* Oct. 31, 4 to 5 p.m.—“Teaching about Human Rights in the Middle East,” with students and professors in the UI College of Education, hosted by UI curriculum and instruction professor Gregory Hamot in room 301 Lindquist Center North.

Khalidi’s visit to the UI is co-sponsored by International Programs, the College of Education, the College of Law, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Henry B. Tippie College of Business, the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the African-American World Studies Program, the Global Studies Program, and the departments of anthropology, geography, history, political science, religious studies, and sociology,. Additional co-sponsors include the General Union of Palestine Students, the Iowa City Foreign Relations Council, and Iowans for Peace with Iraq.

His activities at the UI are supported by the Ida Cordelia Beam Distinguished Visiting Professorships Program, which brings outstanding scholars to the UI campus for residencies ranging from a few days to an entire academic year. A native of Vinton, Iowa, Beam willed her farm to the UI in 1977. Proceeds from the sale of the farm were used to establish the visiting professorships program in her name. Since 1977, hundreds of eminent scholars and scientists have visited the UI campus to give public lectures and to meet with students and faculty.