PROGRAM | Reminder – Town Hall – How Did The Middle East Get In This Condition? – April 12

The Tennessee World Affairs Council’s distinguished visiting speaker program is a flagship effort that presents top diplomats, scholars, business people, military leaders and others on a broad spectrum of topics designed to give you the opportunity to interact with thought leaders and policy makers on today’s critical issues.

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The Tennessee World Affairs Council is pleased to present

a public affairs briefing and town hall in association with Lipscomb University


How Did The Middle East Get In This Condition?



Thomas Lippman

Author, Scholar, Journalist


You Are Invited

Tuesday, April 12, 2016


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Lipscomb University

Ezell Center, Doris Swang Chapel (2nd Floor)

The Middle East is a mess. It’s been five years since the Arab Spring transformed the region from a landscape of intermittent crises to one continuous catastrophe that has defied the ability of regional actors or Western powers to resolve. America has longstanding interests in peace and stability in the Middle East but lurches from one trouble spot to another: the moribund Arab-Israel peace process; the expansionist Islamic Republic of Iran; the post-US invasion hobbled Iraq; and instability, insurrection and dictatorial regimes across the Middle East North Africa region. The descent of orderly states into anarchy especially the civil wars in Syria and Libya alongside the rise of ISIS seemingly defy solutions.

How did the Middle East get in this condition? Our distinguished visiting speaker for April, Mr. Thomas Lippman, traces a source of trouble in the region to the circumstances surrounding the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, dubbed the “Yom Kippur” War, in his new book, “Hero of the Crossing: How Anwar Sadat and the 1973 War Changed the World.” Here is a description of the book and his assessment:

In eleven dramatic years, Anwar Sadat changed history—not just that of Egypt, or of the Middle East, but of the entire world. As the architect of the 1973 war against Israel, he gained the support of other Arab nations and inspired the oil embargo that transformed the global economy. Following the war, however, he forever ended Arab aspirations of unity by making peace with Israel. Early in his presidency, Sadat jettisoned Egypt’s alliance with the Soviet Union and turned to the United States, thereby giving the West a crucial Cold War victory. Sadat’s historic tenure still resonates in the twenty-first century as the Islamic activists—whom he originally encouraged but who opposed his conciliatory policy toward Israel and ultimately played a role in his assassination—continue to foster activism, including the Muslim Brotherhood, today.

Thomas W. Lippman was stationed in the Middle East as a journalist during Sadat’s presidency and lived in Egypt in the aftermath of the October War. He knew Sadat personally, but only now, after the passage of time and the long-delayed release of the U.S. State Department’s diplomatic files, can Lippman assess the full consequences of Sadat’s presidency. Hero of the Crossingprovides an eye-opening account of the profound reverberations of one leader’s political, cultural, and economic maneuverings and legacy.

Join us for a public affairs briefing with Mr. Lippman.

You will have an opportunity to hear his perspective and insights on not only how the Middle East got into the mess but an assessment of where America’s interests lie in the region and the paths ahead and it’s a chance for you to ask your questions about this important global issue.


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Mr. Thomas Lippman visited Tennessee as a World Affairs Council distinguished speaker and was very well received as he toured high schools, universities, Rotary Clubs and town hall meetings to talk about Middle East issues. Here he talks with Cookeville High School students. (Photo: TNWAC)


Thomas W. Lippman is an award-winning 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 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 articles, book reviews and op-ed columns on Middle East affairs, and of seven 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), Arabian Knight: Col.Bill Eddy USMC and the Rise of American Power in the Middle East (2008), Saudi Arabia on the Edge: The Uncertain Future of an American Ally (2011), and most recently Hero of the Crossing: How Anwar Sadat and the 1973 War Changed the World (2016). Arabian Knight won a Benjamin Franklin Award from the Independent Book Publishers Association as best biography of 2008.

The Tennessee World Affairs Council is a nonprofit (501c3), nonpartisan educational charity based in Nashville that works to build understanding of global issues in our communities. Learn more about the Council and find how you can join, donate and volunteer at: 

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