Expert on democracy to discuss plight, promise of the Middle East

Les Campbell, a leading expert on the development of democracy, visits Bates College to speak about the necessity and difficulty of building democracies in the Middle East at 8 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives, 70 Campus Ave.

Sponsored by the Bates Democrats, the event is open to the public at no charge.

Campbell’s speech will touch on high-profile democracy-building efforts, including the controversial democratization process in Iraq.

Campbell is a senior associate and regional director for the Middle East and North Africa at the Washington D.C.-based National Democratic Institute for International Affairs, where he has directed the Institute’s democratic development programs in those regions since 1996.

Campbell has overseen the expansion of NDI’s programs in the Middle East with the establishment of 10 permanent offices that furnish assistance with political, civic and governance reform and development throughout the Arab world. In addition, he has organized election-observation missions around the region, and provided training in the skills necessary for political candidates, government officials and voters to participate in democratic life.

A frequent guest and commentator on Middle East issues for major broadcast news outlets, including CNN, ABC, PBS’s NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, Fox News and several international organizations, Campbell is quoted regularly in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Canada’s Globe and Mail, the Toronto Star and many other publications.

Campbell has also been a guest speaker and/or lecturer at American University, Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, Georgetown University, the University of Toronto, and several chapters of the World Affairs Council. He has been a member of task forces and study groups at the Council on Foreign Relations; the School of Advanced International Studies; the United States Institute of Peace; and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, among others.

Campbell is a fellow at the Queen’s University Center for the Study of Democracy and sits on the board of directors of the Institute for Media, Policy and Civil Society, based in Vancouver, British Columbia. Before joining NDI in 1994, he was chief of staff to the leader of the New Democratic Party in the Canadian House of Commons.

Campbell earned a master’s degree in public administration from Harvard University and a B.A. with honors from the University of Manitoba.

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