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Peace in the Middle East

Feb. 14, 2007 — Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak will inaugurate the first annual World Leaders Lecture Forum with an address that will examine conflict and peace building in the Middle East. The talk, entitled “The Middle East-Today and Tomorrow,” will take place on Thursday, February 22, at 12:00 p.m. at Kingsbury Hall. The lecture is free and open to the public.

“It is an extraordinary honor for us to have Prime Minister Barak speak at the University of Utah,” says University President Michael Young. “As the inaugural speaker for this international lecture forum, the former prime minister brings a wealth of experience and insight that will further enhance the global perspective already prevalent on our campus. I see it as a remarkable educational opportunity for U students and the community.”

The World Leaders Lecture Forum was organized in collaboration with the Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah and the College of Humanities to bring individuals of international stature and global impact to Salt Lake City. “The Tanner Humanities Center is bringing Ehud Barak to campus because of his knowledge of the situation in the Middle East and his critical role in attempting to bring peace to the region,” explains Bob Goldberg, director of the Tanner Humanities Center.

Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak has been a key figure in the Middle East peace process. Elected Prime Minister in 1999, he ordered the withdrawal of the Israeli Defense Forces from South Lebanon, ending 18 tragic and bloody years of Israel’s presence there. At Camp David in 2000, he met with President Bill Clinton and Palestinian leader Yassir Arafat in an attempt to bring lasting peace to the region. Regrettably, these negotiations did not result in the breakthroughs necessary to conclude final agreements. Still, observers note that the Middle East was closer to peace at that point than ever before and perhaps closer than it will be for another generation.

Prior to his election as prime minister, Mr. Barak completed an illustrious 36-year career in the Israeli Defense Forces as the most decorated soldier in Israeli history. He was a key architect of the July 1976 Entebbe Rescue Operation of airline passengers hijacked to Uganda by terrorists. He also served his country as Minister of the Interior, Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Defense Minister.

For additional information on Ehud Barak or the World Leaders Lecture Series, contact Beth Tracy in the Tanner Humanities Center at 801-581-8473, or