Peace in the Middle East: Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy

Peace in the Middle East: Fact, Fiction, or Fantasy

  Speaking in Maine features a talk by Aaron David Miller. He has helped formulate U.S. policy on the Middle East and the Arab-Israeli peace process over the last two decades as an adviser to six secretaries of state.

Aaron David Miller‘s talk was recorded June 25, 2009 at the Holiday Inn by the Bay in Portland as a part of The World Affairs Council of Maine concluded its very successful program year with the much anticipated 2009 International Leadership Awards Luncheon and Educational Symposium where Seeds of Peace will be honored as the recipient of the 2009 International Leadership Award.

And while no region of the world has retained the fascination of Americans during the past twenty years as has the Middle East, the region is a complex amalgamation of sects and states, where wounds a thousand years old are still raw and where people identify as belonging to a religious sect before a country.

Most of us will never understand what is really happening in the Middle East, but some people have devoted their lives to dissecting the region and its complexities. One man who has done this is Aaron David Miller, a public policy fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. He was present at virtually every negotiation involving the United States and Middle East power brokers between 1988 and 2004.

He is also the author of The Much Too Promised Land: America's Elusive Search for Arab-Israeli Peace, a unique analysis chock full of his personal experiences during two decades of participating in America's efforts to help achieve peace in the Middle East. The symposium is in honor of Seeds of Peace, the recipient of the World Affairs Council of Maine's 2009 International Leadership Award. The award was established by the council to honor the achievements of an individual or organization from Maine or with Maine ties who has demonstrated outstanding leadership in the global arena. The 2008 winner of the award was Senator George Mitchell.

Seeds of Peace epitomizes the best Maine has to offer to a global community dealing with ethnic and cultural clashes, according to John LaBrie, executive director of the World Affairs Council of Maine. "Seeds of Peace is an outstanding organization that has been focused on the peaceful resolution of conflict for over a decade and their model should be emulated and celebrated. For Maine, this is yet another amazing example of how our state has a disproportionate influence on a global map." Seeds of Peace began in the pristine woods of Maine as the Seeds of Peace International Camp, established in 1993 by journalist John Wallach to bring together young leaders from conflict-torn regions around the world. From its first year, when it brought together 46 Israeli, Palestinian and Egyptian teenagers, the organization has expanded to include young leaders from South Asia, Cyprus and the Balkans. Its leadership network now encompasses nearly 4,000 young people from several major conflict regions. Currently, the organization is actively working in the Middle East and South Asia. In his keynote address, Miller discusses the current state of negotiations in the Middle East. Using his book as a point of departure, he will also incorporate his views on how the new Obama administration will influence the peace process.