Feb 232003
 
Authors: Amy Bergstrom

In a Forum on the Middle East on Saturday, speakers from around the world shared different perspectives on the issues in the Middle East to increase understanding of international topics.

The forum, coordinated by the international education department of the Office of International Programs, was the first in the International Focus series.

“The office (of International Programs) wanted to do more community outreach to help people learn about areas in the world that are poorly understood,” said Shawna Magtutu, program coordinator in the Office of International Programs.

The International Focus series is aimed at bringing attention to international issues to create better-educated world citizens in the CSU and Fort Collins community, according to a handout from the forum.

“As a land grant school, we have a responsibility to reach out to the community and work with the community on the issues of the day,” said Peter Nicholls, CSU provost and academic vice president, during the opening of the forum.

The 10 speakers at the forum came from Israel, Palestine and various universities across the United States and Canada.

The forum began with introductory lectures on understanding the Middle East and Islam.

William Cleveland, a professor from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, explained the importance of knowing the history and issues of the Middle East.

“Understanding the Middle East isn’t heartwarming, but we are all connected and must know,” Cleveland said.

Among the other speakers were an Israeli, Moshe Maoz from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, and a Palestinian, Hamid Abdeljaber, chief of the Middle East Radio Unit for the United Nations Department of Public Information. Each was given an opportunity to share his perspective on the Israel-Palestine situation.

Among the more than 200 people who attended the forum were approximately 40 CSU students.

“I want to get a better world view, especially with everything that’s going on,” said Hannah Sugimoto, a freshman majoring in graphic art.

Many of the other participants were faculty from CSU and the Poudre School District.

The International Focus series is intended to be an on-going program. A forum on India next fall and one on Latin America next spring are currently being planned.

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