KU News Release

Oct. 20, 2011
Contact: Heather Anderson, Dole Institute of Politics, 785-864-1422

Expert on contemporary Islam to speak at the Dole Institute

Akbar Ahmed

More Information

LAWRENCE — Akbar Ahmed, called “the world’s leading authority on contemporary Islam” by BBC News, will be at the Dole Institute of Politics at the University of Kansas next week.

Ahmed will be featured in a Dole Forum event scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 26, at the Dole Institute. This program will include a book sale and signing. It is free and open to the public.

“As more and more Americans develop stronger opinions on Islam, many are doing so without really trying to understand the religion,” said Bill Lacy, director of the Dole Institute. “We’ll have a wide-ranging discussion on the war in Afghanistan, our relationship with Pakistan and Islam in America.”

Ambassador Ahmed, Ibn Khaldun Chair of Islamic Studies, American University in Washington, D.C., was the high commissioner of Pakistan to Great Britain. He has advised Prince Charles and met with former President George W. Bush, Gen. David Petraeus and former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff on Islam. His numerous books, films and documentaries have won awards, and his books have been translated into many languages, including Chinese and Indonesian.

Ahmed was appointed in September 2008 as the first distinguished chair for Middle East/Islamic studies at the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md., in addition to the Ibn Khaldun Chair at American University. From fall 2009 onward, he was appointed distinguished visiting affiliate at the U.S. Naval Academy, and he has been nonresident senior fellow at The Brookings Institution for several years.

Ahmed is regularly interviewed on CNN, CBC, the BBC, ARY TV and has appeared several times on “The Oprah Winfrey Show” and “Nightline.” Ahmed appeared on “The David Frost Show” on Al Jazeera, and also “Newsnight” for the Annual Review 2007. He presented and narrated “Living Islam,” the six-part BBC television series, in 1993, and “The Glories of Islamic Art,” the three-part television series for Channel 5, UK, broadcast in 2006.

Ahmed was awarded the Star of Excellence, one of Pakistan’s highest honors, and the Sir Percy Sykes Memorial Medal by the Royal Society for Asian Affairs in London. He was given the First Annual Bridge Builder’s Award from the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington, and he received the Humanitarian Award, the highest honor of the Chapel of Four Chaplains. In 2004, he was given the Professor of the Year Award for Washington, D.C., by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

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