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Oberlin College to host symposium on ‘World View on the United States’

OBERLIN, Nov. 19, 2008: Repairing  the United States’ image abroad will be a crucial foreign policy challenge for President-Elect Barack Hussein Obama and U.S. Congress in the days ahead.

In “World Views: Considering the United States’ Image Abroad in the Post-Bush Era,” leading journalists and international relations experts from around the world will take part in a two-day symposium at Oberlin College on Dec. 5 and 6, 2008, to examine United States’ image abroad and consider what can be done to improve it.

President-Elect Obama is facing some of the most dangerous and complex foreign policy challenges ever to greet a newcomer to the White House. The tarnished image of the United States makes addressing those challenges even more difficult.

Global public opinion surveys show that instead of being seen as a champion of democracy, the United States is now viewed as an inward-looking, militant superpower. More than 70 percent of non-Americans surveyed in a recent Pew Research poll say the world would be improved if the United States faced a rival military power. About half the citizens of Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco think suicide attacks on U.S.-Americans in Iraq are justified.

“World Views” will feature a keynote address by renowned Middle East expert Dr. Shibley Telhami, professor of government at the University of Maryland and a senior fellow in the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy.

Dr. Telhami is a former advisor to the U.S. Mission to the United Nations and the Iraq Study Group. A frequent guest commentator on PBS, NPR and other major television and radio networks, he is an expert on U.S. policy in the Middle East, particularly public opinion in the region and the role of Arab-language news media in shaping political identity.

The symposium will feature two panel discussions. One panel will analyze the current state of U.S.-America’s image in Europe, Latin America, Asia, Africa, and the Middle East and explore ways to rebuild it. The other will examine perceptions of terrorism and counter-terrorism in the U.S. and abroad, and compare American and foreign media presentations of those issues.

Participants in World Views include
: author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Fred Kaplan '76, War Stories columnist for Slate magazine; Riaz Khan, foreign secretary (ret.), the Islamic Republic of Pakistan; Bob Drogin '73, award-winning author and Los Angeles Times reporter on national security and intelligence; Hannah Allam, former Baghdad and Cairo Bureau Chief for McClatchy Newspapers; & Jennifer Siebens '73, Vice President and London Bureau Chief CBS News.

Also, Elizabeth Sullivan, associate editor and foreign affairs columnist, the Cleveland Plain Dealer; Burton Gerber, Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University; and Jorge Dominguez, Vice Provost for International Affairs and professor of Mexican and Latin American politics and economics at Harvard University.

Dr. Jorge I. Domínguez

Dr. Telhami’s keynote address will be delivered at 8:00 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, in the West Lecture Hall of the Oberlin College Science Center at 119 Woodland St. The panels will take place the following day in the same venue at 10:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. All events are open to the public.

For more information, please go to:  


Friday, Dec. 5, 2008, 8:00 p.m.
Keynote Address by Dr. Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, Department of Government and Politics, University of Maryland, and Senior Fellow in the Saban Center for Middle East Studies, Brookings Institution

Saturday, Dec. 6, 2008, 10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.

Panel Discussion: Examining the United States' Image in Europe, the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Latin America.

·         Jorge I. Domínguez, Antonio Madero Professor of Mexican and Latin American Politics and Economics, and Vice Provost for International Affairs, Harvard University

·         Jennifer Siebens '73, Vice-President and London bureau chief for CBS News

·         Hannah Allam, Nieman Fellow, Harvard University, former bureau chief in Baghdad and Cairo for McClatchy Newspapers

·         Ambassador Riaz Khan, Foreign Secretary, the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, former Ambassador to The People's Republic of China

·         Moderator: Benjamin N. Schiff, Professor of Politics, Oberlin College

Dec. 6, 2008, 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion: Perceptions of Terrorism and Counter-Terrorism in the United States and Abroad.

·         Burton Gerber, Adjunct Professor and Senior Fellow in the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University

·         Bob Drogin, '73, author of Curveball: Spies, Lies and the Con Man Who Caused a War, reporter for the Los Angeles Times, Washington bureau

·         Elizabeth Sullivan, foreign affairs columnist, the Cleveland Plain Dealer

·         Fred Kaplan, '76, author of Daydream Believers: How a Few Grand Ideas Wrecked American Power, and War Stories columnist for Slate magazine

·         Moderator: Mohammad Jafar Mahallati, Visiting Professor of Religion, Oberlin College







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