Peace in the Golan Heights to be Topic of Roundtable Discussion on March 29 at Middlebury College — Arab and Israeli Experts to Participate

A roundtable discussion, “Peace and the Golan Heights: Prospects and Implications for the Syria-Israel Negotiations,” will bring together four experts on the topic—each presenting a different perspective. The event will take place on the Middlebury College campus at 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 29 in the Robert A. Jones Seminar Room of the Geonomics House on Hillcrest Road off College Street (Route 125). The event is free and open to the public.

Middlebury Geography Professor Tamar Mayer, who is organizing the event in collaboration with the College’s Geonomics Center for International Studies, said, “The event represents a great challenge and accomplishment because it will bring Israelis and Syrians together in the same room to discuss the Golan.”

“It is also a tremendous opportunity for our students, faculty, staff, and community members to learn firsthand about the current Syrian-Israeli negotiations centered on Israel’s withdrawal from the strategic Golan Heights in exchange for peace,” added Mayer.

The group of four experts participating in the event includes Raghida Dergham, senior diplomatic correspondent for the London-based Al Hayat, the leading independent Arabic daily newspaper. A Lebanese-born American citizen, she is an analyst for CNN and a frequent guest on other major television networks and radio shows. Her experience as a journalist includes exclusive interviews with over 50 foreign ministers. Dergham is also the only journalist who has interviewed Ramzi Youssef, the alleged mastermind of the World Trade Center bombing. At Middlebury, she will speak about the impact of the negotiations between Syria and Israel on Syria’s relationship with Lebanon.

Three other guest participants in the roundtable will bring their points of view to the discussion. Sadik Al-Azm, chairman of the department of philosophy and sociology at the University of Damascus in Syria, will provide the Syrian perspective. Itzhak Levanon, consul general of Israel to New England, will offer the Israeli outlook. Aaron T. Wolf, assistant professor of geography in the department of geosciences at Oregon State University, is an expert on water supplies in the Middle East and their relationship to Arab-Israeli peace negotiations. Mayer will serve as moderator.

For more information, contact Charlotte Tate of the Geonomics Center for International Studies at Middlebury College at 802-443-5795 or