WFU hosts year-long lecture series on the events of Sept. 11

A year-long series of lectures built around the theme “Remembering Sept. 11: Making the Move from Grief and Anger to Understanding and Action,” starts this month at Wake Forest University. The first three lectures will be held this fall and an additional three are scheduled for spring. The lectures are free and open to the public.

The events have been organized by the university’s department of political science. David Coates, professor of political science and chairman of the committee that organized the lecture series, says the goal of the talks is to give the community some insight into the forces that triggered the attacks on the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon. Additional discussion will focus on the proper course of action that should be taken in response to the attacks.

“We are looking for the issue that dominates political life and obviously that is the fallout or consequences of Sept. 11,” Coates says. “Our view is that though the issue is of global significance, the level of understanding that any of us have about the specifics of the various parts of that legacy are actually quite low. People don’t know very much about Iraq other than what they get from the media. People don’t know about what’s happening in Kashmir or Afghanistan.

“We need an informed public on this, and the university is in a unique position to contribute to the creation of an informed public. We thought the best thing we could do is use (the faculty’s) connections with the outside world to bring people to the campus who can speak with incredible authority on these issues.”

The first lecture is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 23 in room 1312 of the university’s Worrell Professional Center. Graham Fuller, former vice chairman of the National Intelligence Council at the CIA, will give a lecture titled “Islam & the World Order.”

Fuller is also former senior political scientist at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decision making through research and analysis. He is the author of “Islamic Fundamentalism in Afghanistan: Its Character and Prospects” and “A Sense of Siege: The Geopolitics of Islam and the West.”

Robert Wirsing, professor in the Asia-Pacific Center for Security Studies, will give the second lecture Nov. 6. He is a former visiting professor at the United States Army John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg. In addition, he has been a visiting professor in the department of politics at the University of Karachi and the department of international relations at Quaid-i-Azam University in Islamabad. He is the author of “India, Pakistan and the Kashmir Dispute” and “Pakistan’s Security Under Zia 1977-1988.”

The lecture series is funded through an endowment created by C.H. Richards, founder of the Wake Forest’s political science department.

Additional speakers are being decided by the committee and will be announced at a later date.

The committee has identified the following five issues that will be addressed during the year-long lecture series:

  • The extent to which, in the wake of Sept. 11, the Iraqi regime is a military threat to the region and the world
  • The link between the unresolved problems of Israel and the Palestinians and the spread of anti-American feeling in the Middle East and beyond
  • The nature of Islamic politics in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India and the connections to al Qaida
  • The relationship between civil liberties and protection against terrorism in the context of U.S. democracy
  • The extent to which media coverage of the Middle East and South Asia is equipping the U.S. electorate to make informed choices on key foreign policy issues

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