Stephen Zunes

zunes2009_webA Leading Analyst of US Middle East

Ideal Use: Human rights, Middle East politics, U.S. foreign policy, nonviolent action
A veteran peace and human rights activist, Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies.  He serves as a senior analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies, a contributing editor of Tikkun, and chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

As one of the country’s top progressive critics of U.S. Middle East policy and an authority on the ongoing pro-democracy struggles in the region, he has met with leading government officials, scholars, and dissidents in Israel, Palestine, Egypt, Lebanon, Iran, and other Middle Eastern countries. His lectures have taken him to more than 150 campuses and 400 community groups and he has served as an analyst for National Public Radio, Pacifica Radio, Public Radio International, BBC, and MSNBC, as well as scores of local and syndicated talk shows. He is the author of scores of articles for Truthout, Alternet, Common Dreams, and other progressive web sites as well as for scholarly journals, political magazines and newspaper op-ed pages.  You can access many of these articles on his web site:

Dr. Zunes addresses an array of topics, including Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, strategic nonviolent action, human rights, international terrorism, and nuclear nonproliferation,  He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of the highly-acclaimed Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of Western Sahara: Nationalism, Conflict, and International Accountability (Syracuse University Press.)
A native of North Carolina, Professor Zunes received his PhD. from Cornell University, his M.A. from Temple University and his B.A. from Oberlin College. Prior to his appointment at USF, he served on the faculty of Ithaca College, the University of Puget Sound, and Whitman College. He has been a Joseph J. Malone Fellow in Arab & Islamic Studies and served as a National Endowment for the Humanities Fellow at Dartmouth College. In 2002, he was recognized by the Peace and Justice Studies Association as their first Peace Scholar of the Year.

Taking the debate beyond Israel versus Palestine, Zunes argues that Palestinian rights and Israeli security are not mutually exclusive but mutually dependent on the other, but that U.S. policy has helped neither. The key to peace in the Middle East, argues Zunes, is through arms control, human rights, international law, and the right of self-determination, but U.S. policy under both Republican and Democratic administrations has consistently undermined these principles through massive arms shipments, support for repressive governments, and the deliberate undermining of the United Nations and international legal standards.  As one of the few Western scholars to predict the Egyptian revolution, he has long argued that the key to democratization in the Middle East not through foreign intervention but through popular nonviolent struggle.

A dynamic speaker, Zunes brings supporters of both Israel and Palestine together in exposing how U.S. policy has undermined the legitimate aspirations of both peoples. He reveals how U.S. policy in the region has strengthened autocratic regimes and contributed to the Islamist reaction that has spawned extremist organizations and puts forward the hope of nonviolent social movements in both the United States and the Middle East contributing to building peace and justice to the region and beyond. He is also one of the foremost authorities on the important but little-known conflict in Western Sahara. He challenges audiences to become active in working to change current U.S. policies of backing autocratic regimes and occupation armies to one supporting human rights and international law, building a movement comparable to those in recent history which challenged U.S. policies in Southeast Asia and Central America.

Lecture topics include:
The Pro-Democracy Struggles in the Middle East
United States and the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: Help or Hindrance
Iraq:  How We Got In and How We Can Get Out
What Next in Afghanistan?
U.S. Middle East Policy: Challenges for the Obama Administration
The United States and Iran
People Power Movements and the Power of Nonviolent Action
We Don’t Need No Stinking Badges: U.S. Middle East Policy and International Law
Are We Secure Yet? U.S. Middle East Policy and the War on Terrorism
Peace or Pax Americana: The U.S. Role in the Middle East
United States and the Destabilization of Lebanon
Understanding Political Islam
Human Rights, Democracy and U.S Middle East Policy
Challenging the Threat of Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East
The Other Occupation: The Struggle over Western Sahara
How Anti-Jewish and Anti-Arab Bigotry in the West Undermine Middle East Peace
How to Build a Popular U.S. Movement for Peace in the Middle East


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