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Middle East expert Leonard is Basler Chairholder

Thursday, November 06, 2008JOHNSON CITY – Dr. Graham Leonard, who has specialized in the Middle East since 1950, will present “Origins of Problems in the Middle East: An Overview,” the first of four lectures he will deliver as holder of the East Tennessee State University 2008-09 Wayne G. Basler Chair of Excellence for the Integration of the Arts, Rhetoric and Science.

His free public lecture takes place next Tuesday (Nov. 11) at 7 p.m. in 102 Rogers-Stout Hall.

Leonard, who hails from Kingsport and whose family has resided in Northeast Tennessee since 1760, earned a Ph.D. in education at Harvard University, with emphasis in linguistics, psychology and Arabic. He spent a year at Oxford University as a Harvard postdoctoral traveling fellow.

A Middle East resident for over 35 years, he taught at Quaker schools and at the American University of Beirut. He was a UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) adviser on teacher education for UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East). He also worked in Jerusalem as management officer of the Program for Assistance to the Palestinian People through the United Nations Development Program.

Leonard taught at Peking Normal University in Beijing, the University of California at Irvine and the University of Paris at Vincennes, and was a consultant on topics like education and the Middle East.

In 2005, Leonard traveled to Iraq for three weeks with Christian Peacemaker Teams. He then spent five weeks as an “embedded journalist” with the National Guard 2/278th “Tennessee Peacemakers.” He continues involvement in his Arabic education project in the Arab world.

In addition to lectures, Leonard will teach two ETSU courses during spring semester, “Origins of the Troubles in the Middle East” and “Modernizing vs. Westernizing Education in the Middle East.”

Created in 1994, the Basler Chair honors a longtime member of the ETSU Foundation who is a strong advocate of numerous university programs. His commitment to the liberal arts was instilled by his music-teacher mother, and his father, who taught industrial arts. The state Chair of Excellence brings various scholars to ETSU to broaden opportunities for students and the general public in the arts, humanities and science. The Basler Chair illustrates the unity of knowledge while bridging gaps among disciplines.

For more information or special assistance for those with disabilities, call the ETSU College of Arts and Sciences at (423) 439-5671.


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