By Zach Scalzo ’17
On February 27th, the Norwich University Peace and War Center hosted Former Ambassador Haim Koren, who acted as the Israeli ambassador to Egypt from 2014 until 2016. Ambassador Koren’s experience as the Director of Israel’s Middle East Division of Foreign Affairs has made him an expert on the Arab world. His lecture offered a great opportunity for Norwich students to get an inside look, from a non-American perspective, of the Middle East.
Koren began by emphasizing the importance of cross-cultural competencies, and how his education in Middle Eastern studies aided in his career trajectory. Koren is fluent in many dialects of Arabic and explained that understanding the specific culture of a region is imperative to having an impact in that region. He referenced the success of the United States’ military efforts in Western Iraq and continued to impress upon the audience how understanding the Iraqi culture made the U.S. successful in that region.
Koren shared a positive outlook for the future and declared that the problem in the Middle East was no longer a “nation vs nation conflict,” but rather was radical Islam. The threat of non-state actors and Iran has created a stronger diplomatic bond between Arab countries and Israel, through their united efforts to eradicate extremism. The threat of radical Islam is not well understood in America; Koren shared with the audience that he believes it is time for America to take advantage of the opportunity to eliminate radical Islamic terrorism. The opportunity to host and attend a lecture by the former ambassador was an exciting opportunity for the Norwich community.
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