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Distinguished speaker discusses Middle East

By SUN CHA, Staff Writer
On November 10, 2006

Former U.S. Ambassador Edward L. Peck visited ASU for two days of classroom visits and discussions, with a special public presentation offered Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the C.J. Davidson. The public presentation "The Middle East --Today and Tomorrow" was open and free to the public.

According to freshman Adan Lopez, Peck's extensive traveling and exposure to culture were very interesting and admirable.

"It's important to be interested in other cultures and be open-minded to cultures outside of the U.S.," Lopez said. "There are two sides to everything."

His public presentation covered topics that included the Middle East, U.S. Foreign Policy, and the diplomatic Foreign Service and current international events. During his presentation, Peck helped to shed light on the common misconceptions and stereotypes that many have about the Middle East.

Peck served two tours as a U.S. Army paratrooper and served in the Foreign Service for 32 years. He has served as ambassador to both Iraq and Mauritania, as embassy officer in Sweden, Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Egypt. He has held prominent offices in the State Department, Department of Defense and the White House.

Peck retired from Foreign Service in 1989 and then served as executive secretary for the American Academy of Diplomacy, chairman of the Political Tradecraft Programs at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center and president of Foreign Services International. He currently serves on the board of directors of Americans for Middle East Understanding.

Peck has also become a respected television and radio commentator on the Middle East, and a speaker for and consultant on foreign affairs in the United States and overseas. He also speaks Swedish, Spanish, Arabic and French.

Peck was brought to ASU by the efforts of the college of liberal and fine arts, the university center program council, and the communications, drama and journalism, government and modern languages departments.

"He was interesting," said Jaime Jimenez, a former ASU student. "It was different from what I expected. He wasn't boring."

Freshman Kat Hankins said she attended the lecture because she was interested on Peck's view on things and for extra credit in one of her courses.

"I thought it was very well spoken," Hankins said. "I find it to be very interesting how even a politician can have such a great sense of humor."

By Sun Cha

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