Posted by on March 08, 2011 in Blog

We’re 335 days out from the 2012 Iowa Caucuses and AAI President Jim Zogby is there making the case for the need to better understand the Arab world and for a new foreign policy approach to the Middle East. As with Jim’s visit to Iowa four years ago, audiences are highly engaged with his message, dispelling once again the reputation of Iowa as a place that does not care much about foreign policy issues.

In the Iowa City Press-Citizen, Jim noted the challenges that remain ahead of the successful completion of the Egyptian revolution for a free and democratic country. Citing the unresponsiveness of many military leaders who remain in charge of Egypt to the demands of the demonstrators, Jim said “the question is, 'To what degree can we apply pressure on Egypt's military to have it help and create the political space necessary for a true democratic process to unfold?'"

In The Daily Iowan, the focus was more on domestic issues, covering the way Arabs are viewed in America, particularly in the post-9/11 world and with the growing anti-Muslim sentiment. Jim said that stereotypes of Arabs were “culturally driven through media,” noting that, here in America, “we have to change our view of the world.” With an eye on the upcoming election, the WCF Courier quoted Jim as having said, “You're going to have people want to be president of the United States who don't have a freaking clue about that part of the world.”

The wide press coverage of Jim’s events also bodes well for lively discussions on the Middle East in the upcoming presidential race, as presidential hopefuls pay close attention to the conversations in Iowa, which traditionally resonate within wider policy circles in this country.

Jim’s Iowa tour is ongoing. Tonight, he will be at Drake University in Des Moines, and tomorrow he will be at Iowa State University in Ames.

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