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University of Charleston to Host Panel Discussion on Syria

Event Date:  Thursday, September 19, 2013

The University of Charleston will host a panel discussion on Syria this Thursday, Sept. 19 at 7 p.m. in the Geary Student Union Appalachian Room, located on the second floor

The discussion, titled “Syria, a Human Tragedy: How Does the World Respond?,” will be moderated by UC President Ed Welch and feature experts on the various sides of the conflict. The event will also touch on whether the United States should intervene. Panelists include:

Haris Tarin is currently the Director of the Washington, D.C. office of the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC). In his capacity as the D.C. Director, he engages various agencies within government including the White House, Department of Justice, State Department, Department of Homeland Security and offices on Capitol Hill. This past summer, President Obama called on Tarin to discuss various policy issues, including national security, countering violent extremism, the American Muslim community and civic engagement. Tarin has been published in various national and international publications including the LA Times, CNN and has a regular column on the Huffington Post. He has spoken at various domestic and international conferences and media outlets on topics such as National Security, Islam and governance, US-Muslim World Relations, Role of American Muslim institutions in Policy Formation, Religion and Public Life, and Civic Engagement. Tarin is a Truman National Security Fellow and a USC/Georgetown AMCLI Fellow and is also the author of Intro to Muslim America

Rev. Jim Lewis is a retired Episcopal minister and one of the original founders of West Virginia Patriots for Peace. The group currently consists of 1,000 West Virginians across the state and has held two demonstrations over the past week in Charleston in regards to the current Syrian conflict. Rev. Lewis was part of a peace delegation sent to Iraq four months prior to the Gulf War in 1990 and has also participated in other delegations sent to Libya, Jordan, Palestine/Israel, Cuba and Central America. He has also been a part of several fundraising efforts over the years for Syrian humanitarian efforts. 

Brad Deel is the director of the political science program at the University of Charleston. Deel is also a retired Army Reserve Lieutenant Colonel and will speak about the United States interest in Syria and possible military involvement.

The event will also include accounts from two dissidents who fled Syria. Ahed Al Hendi was imprisoned and tortured by Syrian authorities for establishing a secular anti-regime student organization. He is now the Arabic Programs Coordinator at, a New York-based human rights organization that amplifies the voices of pro-democracy bloggers in the Middle East. His wife, Hadeel Kouki, was an active dissident on Facebook prior to the Arab Spring, and quickly became one of the most prominent and outspoken anti-Assad voices following the outbreak of the Syrian uprising that began in January, 2011. After realizing that she was wanted by Syrian intelligence forces, Kouki left Syria on December 23, 2011.


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