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ICFRC: The Middle East's Tumultuous Decade: The World Biden Inherits

Listen to an audio podcast of this program.

The "Tumultuous Decade" brings together nearly a decade of Zogby Research Services (ZRS) public opinion polling in Arab countries, Turkey, and Iran-a period of great tumult across the Middle East and North Africa. Through polling, ZRS gives people a chance to speak for themselves - people who are often "spoken for" by governments or elites who think they know what the "local" people think, or even what they should think. The danger of not listening is most acutely illustrated by the series of near-blind decisions that preceded and accompanied the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq, but also rears its head in international decisions and actions in many Middle Eastern arenas, from the Israel-Palestine conflict to the Russian intervention in Syria. International policymaking toward the Middle East, while it considers matters of energy, security, trade, and the like, must always keep in view-front and center-the opinions and priorities of the people concerned.

James Zogby co-founded the Arab American Institute, a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community, in 1985 and continues to serve as its president. He is Director of Zogby Research Services, a firm that has conducted groundbreaking surveys across the Middle East. In September 2013, President Obama appointed Dr. Zogby to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom. He was reappointed to a second term in 2015 and concluded his service in May 2017. He was twice elected Vice Chair. He writes a weekly column published in 12 countries. He is featured frequently on national and international media as an expert on Middle East affairs. In 2010, Zogby published the highly-acclaimed book, Arab Voices. His 2013 e-books, Looking at Iran: The Rise and Fall of Iran in Arab Public Opinion and 20 Years After Oslo, are drawn from his extensive polling across the Middle East with Zogby Research Services.

Dr. Zogby has also been personally active in U.S. politics for many years; in 1984 and 1988 he served as Deputy Campaign manager and Senior Advisor to the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign. In 1988, he led the first ever debate on Palestinian statehood at that year's Democratic convention in Atlanta, GA. For the past 3 decades, he has served in leadership roles in the Democratic National Committee. In 1995, Democratic National Committee Chairman Don Fowler appointed Zogby as co-convener of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee (NDECC), an umbrella organization of Democratic Party leaders of European and Mediterranean descent.

In 1975, Dr. Zogby received his doctorate from Temple University's Department of Religion, where he studied under the Islamic scholar Dr. Ismail al-Faruqi. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities Post-Doctoral Fellow at Princeton University in 1976 and is the recipient of a number of honorary doctorate degrees.

For more information on the Foreign Relations Council visit their website at www.icfrc.org.

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