KPC hosts linguist

Speaker to hit on Middle East issues

Posted: Monday, March 31, 2008

In today's world, learning as much about the Middle East as possible is important, even for small communities like Kenai and Soldotna.

But even though an over abundance of information comes to us through the media, we rarely get a firsthand account of what's happening there.

After spending more than 15 months in Mosul, Rawah and Bagdad working as an interpreter for the U.S. Army, University of Alaska Fairbanks instructor Jedidiah Anderson will bring his own experience in the Middle East to light in a community presentation hosted by the Kenai Peninsula College Psychology Club.

Anderson's presentation, "The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict and Foreign Policy in the Arab World," will serve as an introduction and highlight of a class he will teach on the same subject at KPC this fall. The presentation will take place in the college commons at 2 p.m. Sunday.

"I'm hoping that his personal experience in the area might shed light on a lot of our preconceptions about the problems in that area," said KPC psychology Professor Shelley Theno. "Most of us probably don't know (as much) about it as we probably think we do."

Anderson graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 2003, where he majored in Japanese and linguistics. He entered the Army and attended the Arabic Course at the Defense Language Institute in California before being stationed at Fort Wainwright. After he left the Army in December 2007, Anderson went to the Tanana Valley Campus as an Arabic instructor.

Theno said Anderson should be able to impart a lot of information based on his personal experiences. Also because of his military background, his perspective will give an inside look at the United States' policies, she said.

Whenever people with specialized backgrounds come to KPC, the college likes to introduce them to the community, Theno said. In the five years she's been teaching at the college, she said this is the first time someone came to speak on the Middle East. Because speakers with Anderson's background rarely come to the central peninsula and because he will be teaching in the fall and spring, the Psychology Club thought it would be a good opportunity to "tap into a different kind of resource."

The college even considered setting up an Arabic course, Theno said, but had second thoughts because they didn't think enough people would be interested.

"I'm hoping that people who find this topic interesting will take that opportunity to seek out that information in detail," she said. "With any speaker, the more information that you have, the better (you can) formulate your own thoughts and ideas."

This presentation is free and open to anyone.

Jessica Cejnar can be reached at jessica.cejnar@peninsulaclarion.com.



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