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Public Affairs

Focus on the Middle East

April 20, 2004

Photo of Natan Sharansky meeting with President Robert CorriganSan Francisco State hosted two visits the week of April 12 that brought perspectives on the Middle East to the campus community.

Natan Sharansky visited campus for meetings with students, faculty and staff on April 15. Sharansky, who achieved international recognition as a dissident, human rights activist and political prisoner while living in the former Soviet Union, is now Israel's Minister for Jerusalem and Diaspora Affairs.

Highlights of his daylong campus visit included meetings with Jewish student leaders at San Francisco Hillel, President Robert A. Corrigan and other faculty, administrators and students.

Photo of Model Arab League participants Ateka Gunja and Shawn RomerA day after Sharansky’s visit, the Model Arab League West Coast Conference was held on campus. This is the third year that the delegates convened at SFSU for their annual weekend meeting, where students take on the role of diplomats from Arab countries and debate the questions of a changing Middle East. Dwight Simpson, professor of international relations and faculty adviser to the league, reports that 13 universities sent delegates to the meeting. Corrigan gave the opening address and the consul general of Egypt, Afaf El-Mazariky, gave the keynote speech.

"All of us in this room are living though a critical moment in history, and we must remain awake for it," Corrigan told the conference delegates. "'Awake' means more than demonstrations or marches; it means seeking ways to affect the political process more directly –- perhaps by rallying behind political candidates who share our views, or working in our communities to build understanding and support for the views we espouse –- or, as you are doing here, deepening your understanding of the needs, issues, and possible future of a part of the world that touches even us, thousands of miles away."

-- Public Affairs


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