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Indyk to Speak at Main Library Feb. 24 2009

[Archived from February 06, 2009]

Former U.S. Ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk will speak at a free public forum the Louisville Free Public Library’s Main Library, 301 York St., on Tuesday, February 24, at 7 p.m.

Indyk, a top American diplomat, who has served as the U.S. Ambassador to Israel and is a veteran of the peace process is in a unique position to provide insight into today’s peace efforts in the Middle East; is coming to Louisville as part of a tour promoting his new book, Innocent Abroad: An Intimate Account of American Peace Diplomacy in the Middle East.

This is not Indyk’s first visit to Louisville. He spoke to the Jewish community here in 2002, and was warmly received. He also has a long-standing friendship with Jewish Community Federation Executive Director Alan Engel. When Indyk’s new book came out, and his publisher asked him to include Louisville, he was eager to accept.

Indyk and Engel encourage members of the Jewish community to attend.

Making peace in the Middle East is likely to be a top priority of the new president. And Ambassador Indyk knows first hand the difficulties of achieving that goal. In Innocent Abroad, Indyk draws on his many years of intense involvement in the Middle East to provide the inside story of the United States’ attempts to end the Arab-Israeli conflict and change the behavior of rogue regimes in Iraq and Iran.

“Few diplomats have been as closely involved with the attempts to broker a peace treaty in the Middle East as Martin Indyk. His knowledge, experience, and candor make Innocent Abroad a fascinating book,” said Dr. Henry Kissinger, former U.S. Secretary of State.

Both an insightful history and poignant memoir, Innocent Abroad is an extraordinarily candid account of the obstacles that have thwarted the efforts of recent presidents. In the book, Indyk examines the very different strategies of Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to explain why they both faced such difficulties reshaping the Middle East.

He takes us inside the Oval Office, the Situation Room, the palaces of Arab potentates, and the offices of Israeli prime ministers. He draws intimate portraits of the American, Israeli, and Arab leaders he worked with, including Israel’s Yitzhak Rabin, Ehud Barak, and Ariel Sharon; the PLO’s Yasser Arafat; Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak; and Syria’s Hafez al-Asad. And he describes in vivid detail high-level meetings, demonstrating how difficult it is for American presidents to understand the motives and intentions of Middle Eastern leaders and how easy it is for them to miss those rare moments when these leaders are willing to act in ways that can produce breakthroughs to peace.

Indyk is the Director of the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at The Brookings Institution. As one of America’s leading diplomats, he has helped develop Middle East policy in Washington’s highest offices, as well as implement it on the region’s front lines.

In March 1995, Clinton dispatched Indyk to Israel as U.S. ambassador to work with Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin on the peace process. He returned to Israel as ambassador in March 2000 to work with Ehud Barak and Yasser Arafat on a renewed effort to achieve comprehensive peace. He also served there for the first six months of George W. Bush’s presidency.

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