From Arab Spring to Iran Showdown: World Affairs Speaker Program Focuses on Middle East Developments
Nashville, Tennessee, October 31, 2011 – The Tennessee World Affairs Council will present events – civic organization and school visits and public forums – on the stunning developments in Saudi Arabia featuring scholar, author and journalist Thomas Lippman across Middle Tennessee from November 7-9, 2011.
The year 2011 has witnessed incredible developments in the Arab world, none more important to U.S. interests in the region than the challenges being faced in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. What are the implications for the House of Saud stemming from the upheaval sweeping North Africa and the Middle East? How does America balance its interests versus its values vis a vis allies and foes who are facing reform and revolt? What are those interests? What are the implications of the recent U.S. Government charges that Iranian officials were behind a plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to Washington? What is behind the divide between Saudi Arabia and Iran? Where do American interests fit in the competition for hegemony in the Gulf and the wider Middle East? How should America and its Gulf allies deal with an Iranian pursuit of nuclear weapons? What should Americans know about the leadership transition in Saudi Arabia with the passing of Crown Prince Sultan and Interior Minister Prince Nayef being named as his successor?
The TNWAC’s visiting speaker program is hosting a distinguished specialist on Saudi affairs who will sort through the issues “From Arab Spring to Iran Showdown” at various public forums including stops at high schools, civic organizations, media outlets and universities in Middle Tennessee during a three-day visit. Thomas Lippman, senior scholar at the Council on Foreign Relations, spent a career as a newspaperman, including posting as the Washington Post Middle East Bureau Chief. He is author of numerous books on U.S. foreign policy, understanding Islam and Saudi Arabia, including the highly regarded “Inside the Mirage: America’s Fragile Relationship with Saudi Arabia.” Lippman recently finished the forthcoming book, “Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally,” as the dynamic challenges in the region were still unfolding. International media outlets and Washington think tanks regularly contact him to participate in discussions about Middle East affairs and provide assessments of Arab World developments especially in Saudi Arabia.
A public forum, co-hosted by the World Affairs Council, the United Nations Association – Nashville Cordell Hull Chapter and the Center for International Business at Belmont University, is set for the Frist Lecture Hall at Belmont’s Inman Building and will start at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, November 7, 2011. Mr. Lippman will be signing a limited number of his books at the conclusion of the forum. A pre-event dinner with Mr. Lippman is set for 5 p.m. and is open to a limited number of Council members. The public is invited to join the Tennessee World Affairs Council to benefit from this and other opportunities. Details are available on the TNWAC.org Web site.
A second public forum, co-hosted by the TTU International Business Society and the TTU Saudi Students Club in addition to the TNWAC and TTU, is set for the Tech Pride Room at the Roaden University Center and will start at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, November 8, 2011. Mr. Lippman will be signing a limited number of his books at the end of the forum. Details are available on the TNWAC.org Web site.
The Tennessee World Affairs Council, founded in 2007, is one of 90-plus independent, non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots organizations in the United States – the only such organization in the State – that seeks to promote an understanding of important international issues throughout our community with special focus on our school-aged citizens. The Council, a membership organization that welcomes volunteers and members to advance its mission, is hosted on the campus of Belmont University in Nashville.
Thomas W. Lippman is adjunct senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. Lippman is a Washington, DC, based author and journalist who has written about Middle Eastern affairs and American foreign policy for more than three decades, specializing in Saudi Arabian affairs, U.S. – Saudi relations, and relations between the West and Islam. He is a former Middle East bureau chief of the Washington Post, and also served as that newspaper’s oil and energy reporter. Throughout the 1990s, he covered foreign policy and national security for the Post, traveling frequently to Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East. In 2003, he was the principal writer on the war in Iraq for Washingtonpost.com. Prior to his work in the Middle East, he covered the Vietnam War as the Washington Post’s bureau chief in Saigon.
Lippman is the author of numerous magazine articles, book reviews, and op-ed columns about Mideast affairs, and of five books: Understanding Islam (1982, 3d revised edition 2002); Egypt After Nasser (1989); Madeleine Albright and the New American Diplomacy (2000); Inside the Mirage: America’s Fragile Partnership with Saudi Arabia (2004), and most recently Arabian Knight: Col.Bill Eddy USMC and the Rise of American Power in the Middle East (2008). He is also the author of the essay on Saudi Arabia’s defense strategy and nuclear weapons policy published in 2004 by the Brookings Institution Press in The Nuclear Tipping Point, a book on global nuclear proliferation. In addition, he is currently a member of a study group on Saudi Arabia convened jointly by Princeton University and the Institute des Sciences Politiques in France.
A frequent television and radio commentator on Mideast developments, Lippman has appeared on NPR, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, the BBC and Fox News, and on radio stations in New York, Boston, Phoenix and San Francisco, as well as on television stations overseas. Several of his lectures on Saudi Arabia have been televised nationally by C-SPAN. In 2005 he was a lecturer on Middle Eastern affairs at the National Defense University and at the Brookings Institution, was a featured guest on two segments of the PBS program “Think Tank” and also appeared on “The Charlie Rose Show.” He has also been also a consultant to the producers of an A&E documentary on Middle East oil, to the U.S. Marine Corps, and to the National Counterterrorism Center.
In 2002, Lippman was a member of a task force on the future of the Balkans at the Council on Foreign Relations, of which he is a member; in 2004-2005, he was a member of CFR’s study group on Saudi-U.S. relations. He is currently an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, where he serves as the principal media contact on Saudi Arabia and U.S.-Saudi relations.