Symposium to focus on Middle East, North Africa

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Symposium to focus on Middle East, North Africa

The Middle East and the North Africa region will be the topic of a day-long symposium to be held by the Osher Lifelong Institute at the University of Nebraska (OLLI) and the Winter Lecture Series of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 29 at the East Union.

The symposium, “The Middle East and the U.S.: Trials and Turmoil,” is organized by the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the Winter Lecture Series of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln. It will focus on how and why the region has emerged from a land of high culture and advanced learning to the world’s center of unrest and the largest source countries of refugees and radicalism.

“Wars and regime changes in the Middle East and North Africa have been the norm in recent years. As citizens of this nation, we are involved, whether we chose to be or not,” said Dick Dienstbier, OLLI member and one of the organizers of the Unitarian Church’s Winter Lecture Series. “The main purpose of this symposium is to allow us to be more informed citizens so that we can participate wisely in discussions and policy decisions,” he said.

Featured speakers include: James le Sueur, professor of history, and Bedross Der Matossian, assistant professor of history, both from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln; Joe Pennington, deputy assistant secretary for the State of Nebraska; and Paul Watzlavick, spokesperson, Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, U.S. Department of State. Watzlavick and Pennington will address U.S. policy towards the region.

Following the speakers in the morning, there will be several afternoon breakout sessions that will center on the topics related to the lectures with opportunities for more discussion.

The symposium is free and registration is required. Participants have the option of purchasing a boxed lunch for $15 at the time of registration. Outside food cannot be brought into the East Union.

The registration deadline is Oct. 21. Registration for the symposium can be completed online or by calling 402-472-6265.

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