Following the Camp David Accords, the Egypt-Israel Peace Treaty was signed in 1979 during Sen. Frank Church’s tenure as Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Although the peace between Egypt and Israel has lasted since the treaty went into effect, the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, followed by the Arab Spring, and the challenges posed by Iran and the Islamist State have resulted in a virtual permanent war in the Middle East.
How have the hopes and fears of the greater Middle East spun out of control? Why are states in the region failing? What are the challenges from non-state actors? What are the policies that the U.S. and other nations should adapt to meet these challenges?
These issues will be the focus of the Frank Church Conference that will feature presentations from Ambassador Gerald Feierstein, the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State; Ambassador Thomas Pickering, former Under Secretary of State and U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations; Ambassador Molly Williamson, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense, Commerce and State Departments; and experts from the Middle East Institute and other think tanks.
The conference sessions will be held Fridayin the Boise State University Student Union.
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In conjunction with the conference, Leon Panetta, former Secretary of Defense and Director of the Central Intelligence Agency, will speak at a dinner Jan. 18 in the BSU Stueckle Center, where he will receive the Frank and Bethine Church Award for Public Service. Secretary Panetta has a long and distinguished record of public service. He has directed the U.S. office of Civil Rights; represented his Central California district in Congress for 16 years, rising to the chairmanship of the Budget Committee; headed the Office of Management and Budget; and served as White House Chief of Staff. Currently he is Chairman of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy in Monterey, Calif. More information about the award dinner can be found at frankchurchinstitute.boisestate.org.
The Frank Church Conferences are well known to the Boise community and region. This year marks the first conference as part of the new School of Public Service at Boise State, which has been designated as the lead university for public affairs by the Idaho State Board of Education. Dean Corey Cook, previously at the University of San Francisco, envisions Boise State’s new school as a training ground for future public servants across sectors — in government at all levels, as well as private business and non-profit organizations.
Cook shares Boise State’s goals to “redefine how a university helps to solve the most pressing problems of the day, while preparing the leaders of tomorrow through experiential learning, as well as classroom study.” The Frank Church Conferences contribute to this vision.
Garry V. Wenske is the executive director of The Frank Church Institute.
Details of Frank Church Conference
The 32nd annual Frank Church Conference, “Clash of Cultures: the Middle East in Crisis,” will be held Friday at Boise State University in the Simplot Ballroom. Sessions start 8:30 a.m. and are free and open to the public. Students are especially encouraged to attend. Free parking is available in the Lincoln Garage. For luncheon reservations call 426-2941.