seal  Purdue News

September 22, 2003

Top Jordanian diplomat, Purdue grad to discuss Iraq war

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – One of the Middle East's highest-ranking diplomats will speak at Purdue University about the U.S.-led war in Iraq and the political situation in the Middle East.

Marwan Muasher, Jordanian foreign minister and a Purdue alumnus, will speak from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Friday (9/26) in the Krannert Auditorium. The talk, titled "Recent Developments in Iraq and the Peace: A Jordanian Perspective," is free and open to the public.

Marwan Muasher
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As Jordan's highest ranking diplomat and a former ambassador to both the United States and Israel, Muasher has advised on both the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and U.S. policy in the region. He has worked closely with leaders including President George W. Bush and Secretary of State Colin Powell.

"Conflicts in the Middle East are important to everyone in the region and affect the entire world," Muasher said. "It's our responsibility not just to help Jordan's interests, but also to try to help the people who live in our region."

Muasher's talk will be part of a vacation to Purdue during a diplomatic trip to the United States. His talk is sponsored by the Office of the Provost.

A native of Salt, Jordan, Muasher received his bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Purdue in 1977, 1978 and 1981, respectively. Although Muasher put his engineering studies to work for only a short time, he is putting to use another skill set he developed in West Lafayette – diplomacy.

As head of Purdue's Organization of Arab Students, Muasher's goal was to create understanding between Arabs and Americans by exposing Americans to Arabic culture and traditions. The club organized an annual Arab night banquet, fashion shows, plays and other activities to bring Arabic culture to Purdue.

"Even then I knew how important it was for people to understand both their similarities and their differences," Muasher said. "That is how you can bring people together."

After leaving Purdue, Muasher returned to Jordan. He worked briefly in engineering before entering the political arena via a column in a large daily newspaper. Muasher was able to parlay that work into a job as press secretary for the prime minister. That led to a stint as the head of the Jordanian Information Bureau – a position that made him the country's spokesman during the first Gulf War and Jordan's peace negotiations with Israel. He later served as the ambassador to both Israel and the United States.

Muasher remained the U.S. ambassador for five years before advancing to his current position in January 2002. As minister of foreign affairs, Muasher is Jordan's top diplomat. This includes an integral role as an adviser in the Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, as well as advising the United States on its Middle East policy – a role in which he works closely with leaders including President Bush, Powell, Yasar Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

"It's a responsibility I take very seriously," said Muasher, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Purdue in 1999. "You are working toward peace, and you know that the decisions you make will impact the lives of millions of people."

Writer: Matt Holsapple, (765) 494-2073,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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