March 8, 2006

HARRISONBURG—As a part of its Guardian Lecture Series, the Nelson for International and Public Affairs will host a visit to James Madison University by leading national terrorism expert Dr. Walid Phares. Phares, who is professor of comparative politics at Florida Atlantic University and a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies who will give a public lecture on “Future Jihad Terrorism: Is There a Counter Strategy?” on Wednesday, March 22, 2006, at 7:00 p.m. in HHS 1302. (The lecture qualifies as a Wellness Passport event for JMU students.)

Dr. Phares received his Ph.D. in international relations and strategic studies from the University of Miami, as well as baccalaureate degrees in public law, political science, and public administration from the St. Joseph University in Beirut, Lebanon, and a master’s degree in international law from the University of Lyon, France. Now an American citizen, Dr. Phares was born and raised in Beirut, where he practiced law and was the editor or publisher of several weekly and monthly magazines in Arabic, French, and English, before moving to the United States in 1990. He is the author of Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies Against America (2005), which has been on the Top 12 list of Foreign Affairs. Dr. Phares serves as terrorism analyst for NBC/MSNBC and has also appeared on CNN, Fox News, CNBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, C-SPAN, al-Jazeera, al-Hurra, and other networks. He has also conducted numerous briefings for the U.S. Congress, the State Department, and the European Parliament.

In addition to his public lecture, Dr. Phares will also lead a Nelson Institute roundtable discussion for JMU faculty.

Dr. J. Peter Pham, director of the Nelson Institute and also an academic fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that Dr. Phares has agreed to take time from his busy teaching and media schedule to come to JMU and we are very appreciative that the Foundation is helping us by supporting his visit. Dr. Phares is an eminently qualified expert of national and international standing whose informed, even if provocative, perspective will spark the type of conversation we need about this critical issue.”

Named after James Madison’s famous observation to his friend George Thompson that “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge is the only guardian of true liberty” (Letter, June 30, 1825), the Guardian Lecture Series will bring scholars and practitioners distinguished in the Nelson Institute’s four principal areas of interest—terrorism and national security, Africa, religion and global politics, and international ethics and justice—to James Madison University. During their visits to the Harrisonburg, Virginia, campus, the lecturers not only present a public lecture, but also have an opportunity to encounter JMU faculty and studies both in the classroom and in more informal “off the record” discussions.

Support for Dr. Phares’s visit to JMU was provided by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, a nonpartisan policy institute based in Washington, D.C., which is dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism through a combination of policy research, democracy training, strategic communications, and investigative journalism.