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Emory University Middle Eastern scholar Dr. Kenneth W. Stein will deliver the 2009 Schiffman Lecture in Religious Studies at 1 p.m. Friday, May 1 in Dorsey Chapel in Dorsey Hall on the Columbia College campus. Stein will speak on "American Foreign Policy in the Middle East, 2009 and Beyond." The lecture is free and open to the public and will be followed by a question-and-answer session.
Stein is the William E. Schatten Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History and Israeli Studies at Emory University. He also directs Emory's Institute for the Study of Modern Israel and is president of the Center for Israel Education. As the Middle East Fellow of the Carter Center from 1983-2006, he was instrumental in Carter's post-presidential engagement in the Middle East.
Stein also is the author of The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 and Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and theQuest for Arab-Israeli Peace. He has written numerous articles on Arab politics, modern Israel, Palestinian social history and educating pre-collegiate students about Israel and the Middle East. He is considered one of America's leading Middle Eastern policy experts and Emory's finest teachers.
The Schiffman Lecture in Religious Studies was established in 2000 by John A. Schiffman, a member of the Columbia College Board of Trustees, in honor of his late wife, Althea, a 1941 graduate of Christian College and member of the Board of Trustees. Schiffman gave the single largest contribution by a living donor in school history to establish an endowed chair in ethics, religious studies and philosophy. Dr. Anthony Alioto, Columbia College professor of history, has served as chair since 2002.
The religious lecture series was created to educate students, faculty, staff and the community about religion's influence on society in the Unites States and globally. Last year's lecturer was best-selling author Susan Jacoby on "Reason, Unreason and Religion: Say It Ain't So, Where Did America's Rationality Go?" Previous lecturers have included Ellen O'Grady's “Outside the Ark: An Artist’s Journey in Occupied Palestine” and Dr. Shakir Hoomodi, spokesperson for the Islamic Center of Central Missouri.
"It is my hope that through the endowed chair and lecture series, Columbia College will become a force in carrying forward the message to students that integrity, honesty, fairness and compassion are just as important as intellect,” Schiffman said.
Schiffman's gift also established the Schiffman Ethics in Society lecture series which in March 2009 featured actor and activist Edward James Olmos on “Ethics in Hollywood;” and in previous years, Mike Huckabee, former governor of Arkansas; Robert F. Kennedy Jr; and Arun Gandhi, grandson of the late Mohandas (Mahatma) Gandhi.