Middle East is topic for discussion series Friday


Delaware’s 2016 Great Decisions Community Discussion Series on U.S. Foreign Policy resumes Friday with a lecture on the Middle East by Alam Payind, director of the Middle East Studies Center at The Ohio State University.

All Great Decisions discussions will begin at noon in the Fellowship Hall of the William Street United Methodist Church, 28 W. William. Attendees are welcome to bring a brown-bag lunch, organizers note. Complimentary coffee and tea will be provided.

Payind is also a professor in the international studies program and the Near Eastern languages and cultures department at OSU.

He received his bachelor’s degree from Kabul University in political science and Islamic studies and his doctorate from Indiana University in political science and higher education.

Born and raised in Afghanistan, Payind served in the Afghan government as the director general of cultural and foreign relations, and was a professor at Kabul University before the Soviet invasion in 1979 forced him to seek refuge in the United States.

He is still part of the faculty at Kabul University and is a consultant to the Afghan government. Since Sept. 11, 2001, he has visited the country 13 times.

Payind is active on the national level in organizations, such as the National Council of Area Studies Center Directors. He provides consultations to press and news agencies on Middle Eastern affairs and lectures widely.

Other speakers during the series are:

• Feb. 19, “The Kurds,” featuring Melinda McClimans, assistant director of the Middle East Studies Center at OSU.

• Feb. 26, “Cuba and the United States,” featuring Miguel Martinez-Saenz, provost and vice president for academic affairs at Otterbein University.

• March 4, “Mexican Migration to the United States,” featuring Robert Gitter, Joseph A. Meek Professor of Economics at Ohio Wesleyan.

• March 11, “The Road to a Stable Climate: What’s Next After Paris?,” featuring Marianne Gabel, leader of the Citizens’ Climate Lobby in Delaware, with a CCL panel.

• March 18, “The Rise of ISIS,” featuring Michael Houlahan, Foreign Service Officer (retired), U.S. State Department.

Following each discussion, audience participants will have the option of completing a quick survey — prepared by the nonprofit Foreign Policy Association — to add their opinions to others across the nation. The survey results will be made available to federal decision-makers.

Local sponsors of the lecture series include the American Association of University Women, Kiwanis, League of Women Voters, International Studies Program at Ohio Wesleyan University, William Street United Methodist Church, Willow Brook Christian Communities, Cruise One and private donors.

The Great Decisions Discussion Program, a free community discussion series, is designed to encourage debate and discussion of the role of the United States in world affairs, organizers say.


Staff Report

Information for this story was provided by Corinne Lyman, professor emerita of politics and government at Ohio Wesleyan University.

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