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Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life

Israel and Palestine: the State of the Question

Panel backdrop

Raymond Cohen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Augustus Richard Norton, Boston University
Col. Desmond Travers, The International Institute for Criminal Investigations
Date: Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Time: 5:30-7:00 PM
Location: Higgins 310

Over the past six months, President Obama has sent several of his top diplomats to the Middle East to open new lines of communication regarding the Palestinian and Israeli conflict. News reports indicate that a new round of talks is set to begin in October. In an effort to analyze the state of the question and ways forward, the Boisi Center puts together a panel of leading scholars in their respective fields.

headshot of Raymond Cohen

Raymond Cohen recently retired from the Chaim Weizmann Chair of International Relations at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and is spending his second year at Boston College as Corcoran Visiting Professor in the Center for Christian-Jewish Learning. His interests include international diplomacy, ancient and modern, and reconciliation across religions and cultures. His books include Culture and Conflict in Egyptian-Israeli Relations (Indiana, 1990), Negotiating across Cultures (U.S. Institute of Peace, 1991), Amarna Diplomacy (Johns Hopkins, 2002) and Isaiah's Vision of Peace in Biblical and Modern International Relations (Palgrave Macmillan, 2008). His latest book is entitled Saving the Holy Sepulchre (Oxford, 2008). The famous Jerusalem church is a diplomatic system in microcosm, and its restoration provides a fascinating lesson in cooperation between historical rivals. Raymond Cohen is presently working on a study of the relationship between the Holy See and the State of Israel.

Augustus Richard Norton's headshot

Augustus Richard Norton is a professor of international relations and anthropology at Boston University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Professor Norton is also a Visiting Professor in Politics of the Middle East at the University of Oxford and a Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies. His current research focuses on inter-sectarian relations in the Middle East, reformist Muslim thought, and strategies for political reform and opposition in authoritarian states. Professor Norton is the author of multiple books on the Middle East including Hezbollah: A Short History (Princeton, 2007), Civil Society in the Middle East (Brill Academic, 2005), Amal and the Shi’a (University of Texas, 1987), and Security in the Middle East (in Arabic). He is also co-author of UN Peacekeepers (Foreign Policy Assn, 1990) and Political Tides in the Arab World (Foreign Policy Assn, 1992).

headshot of Travers

Colonel Desmond Travers is the Director of the International Institute for Criminal Investigations (IICI), The Hague. He is a former Officer of the Irish Army. In a career spanning over forty years he served in command, instructional and staff appointments in the Infantry Corps and in the Army's Military College where he retired as its Commandant. He served also in a variety of UN or UN-mandated peacekeeping missions abroad: Cyprus (Peacekeeping in 1964, 1969-1970), Middle East (Observer Mission in Lebanon in 1980-1982), Lebanon (Peacekeeping in 1984-1985 and 1987-1988), Croatia, Ex Yugoslavia (EU Monitor in 1993) and Bosnia and Herzegovina Ex Yugoslavia (2000-2001).

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