by Pamela Young, Published March 07, 2011
James Zogby's efforts to dispel Arab stereotypes have been met with angry resistance. His former office was firebombed, and he has received hate mail from people assuming he is Muslim-American.
Zogby, founder and president of the nonprofit Arab American Institute (AAI) and a scholar on Middle East issues, will speak at Eastern Michigan about his new book, "Arab Voices" Monday, March 28, 7:30 p.m. in ballroom A of the Eastern Michigan University Student Center. The event is free and open to the public, and a book signing will follow the presentation. The original program was canceled due to the weather.
The program is part of EMU's Perspectives on the Middle East lecture series.
Zogby, a Catholic of Lebanese descent, has spent his life educating people about the Arab world's diversity. His new book has been described as part polling data, part history and part personal recollections. His goal, he says, is to decrease the gap between perceptions and reality.
In a 2010 Washington Post interview, Zogby discussed how a survey taken after Sept. 11 revealed that the majority of those surveyed in five Arab countries "liked America's freedom and democracy as well as cultural exports and our science and technology. What they hated were U.S. policies or its perceptions toward Arabs."
In addition to his work with the AAI, a Washington, D.C. - based organization that serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community, Zogby is a senior analyst with Zogby International (his brother John's polling firm)
He is a member of the executive committee of the Democratic National Committee; he serves on the national advisory board of the ACLU and the Human Rights Watch board of directors for the Middle East and North Africa; and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
He writes a weekly column on American politics, called Washington Watch, for major Arab newspapers, and blogs for the Huffington Post. His previous books are "What Ethnic Americans Really Think (The Zogby Culture Polls) and "What Arabs Think: Values, Beliefs and Concerns."
Zogby received a doctorate in comparative religions from Temple University in 1975 and a bachelor's degree from LeMoyne College in Syracuse in 1997. He was a National Endowment for the Humanities post-doctoral fellow at Princeton University in 1976.