Rashid Khalidi is intent on debunking the historical inaccuracies and distortions he believes dominate the American public's perception of the Middle East and the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. As this year's Fall Arts Celebration Distinguished Academic Lecturer at Grand Valley State University, Khalidi will speak on, "The Great Powers and the Middle East: Yesterday and Today."
Khalidi's insightful and challenging views will be presented during his lecture on Tuesday, September 22, 7 p.m., at the L.V. Eberhard Center, 301 West Fulton, on the Robert C. Pew Grand Rapids Campus. The event is open to the public with free admission.
The Edward Said Chair in Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University since 2003, Khalidi has devoted his professional career to Middle East studies and the history of Palestine Nationalism. He received his bachelor's from Yale in 1970, and his doctorate in philosophy from Oxford in 1974. He is editor of the Journal of Palestine Studies, and was president of the Middle East Studies Association in 1994, and an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid and Washington Arab-Israeli peace negotiations from October 1991 until June 1993.
"Khalidi's lecture comes at the time of a major diplomatic push by the Obama administration to restart peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and also to put forth a new path on how to work with Middle Eastern and Muslim countries and peoples," said Majd Al-Mallah, director of Middle East Studies at Grand Valley. "In the wake of such activity, the lecture will provide much needed context to the complexities of the relationship between the West and the Middle East."
Born in New York 60 years ago to a Palestinian father and Lebanese mother, Khalidi's scholarship is highly respected by his supporters and even many of his detractors. His most recent book, Sowing Crisis: The Cold War and American Dominance in the Middle East, strives to put into perspective the decades of superpower struggles in the Middle East between Washington and Moscow. In light of new initiatives by President Obama's administration to pursue a peaceful settlement between Israel and Palestine, his lecture will be of interest to both academics and the general public.
Each year Grand Valley's Fall Arts Celebration reinforces the complex and exciting roles the arts and humanities play in the good life. All five events this year, through October 19, are open to the community with free admission.
For additional information on Grand Valley's Fall Arts Celebration, call (616) 331-2180, or visit www.gvsu.edu/gvmagazine/ for the full story on pages 10-12 of the Summer 2009 issue of Grand Valley Magazine.