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Hans Blix speaks at Lehigh March 16

Hans Blix, the former head of the U.N. weapons inspection team charged with finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, will share his uncensored views on the process he now criticizes when he speaks at Lehigh on Tuesday, March 16.

His talk, which is free and open to the public, will be at 7:30 p.m. in Baker Hall of Lehigh’s Zoellner Arts Center. It is sponsored by the Visiting Lectures Committee.

Blix gained international recognition last year in the prelude to the war in Iraq, when Blix and his team tried to determine if Saddam Hussein was hiding weapons of mass destruction. While the U.S. and its allies pushed for justification for military action in Iraq, key opponents on the U.N. Security Council called for further inspections. Blix stood between the two factions, trying to fairly and impartially determine the true scope of Iraq's weapons program.

Initially circumspect about the process, Blix has recently become far more vocal in his criticism of both the Bush and Blair administrations, charging the administrations’ officials with knowingly hyping the case for war, conducting a misguided “faith-based approach” instead of relying on facts, and even distorting the reports of weapons inspectors to justify an invasion of Iraq.

His opinions will be included in his book, Disarming Iraq, which will be released by Pantheon Books before his talk at Lehigh. In it, Blix recounts a play-by-play overview of the months of diplomacy and inspection efforts leading up to war and the resultant geo-political crisis.

Blix had been appointed by U.N. Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2000 to head the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC), and retired from that position in June 2003. Blix is now the chairman of the International Commission on Weapons of Mass Destruction.

Blix’s talk follows that of Angela Davis, the former Black Panther and now prison reform activist who spoke on “How Gender Structures the Prison Industrial Complex” in late February, and tops an impressive roster of speakers who will share their diverse views with Lehigh audiences.

Upcoming speakers include:

Matthew Pearl, Wednesday, March 24

Pearl, the author of The New York Times ’ bestseller, The Dante Club , will discuss his book and the world of writing in a lecture titled “Hell, History & Mystery: A New England Inferno,” at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 24 in Sinclair Laboratory Auditorium. Pearl’s book is this semester’s selection for “On the Same Page, Lehigh,” a university-wide book group that meets to discuss works of both fiction and non-fiction. His talk is sponsored by the Friends of the University Libraries and the Lehigh Visiting Lectures Committee.

For more information, call (610) 758-3039.

Alan Kors, Wednesday, March 24

Kors, a professor of history at the University of Pennsylvania--where he authored, with Harvey Silverglate, The Shadow University --will discuss “The Betrayal of Liberty and Dignity on America’s College Campuses,” at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 24 in Room 303, Whitaker Hall. His talk is sponsored by the College Republicans, Young America’s Foundation and the Visiting Lectures Committee.

For more information, call Neal Hoffman at (484) 894-5037, or at (610) 974-2185, or by e-mail.

Edward S. Herman, Thursday, March 25

Herman, economist, author and media critic, will speak on “Does Mass Media Serve Our Democracy Well?” at 4:10 p.m. Thursday, March 25 in Neville I. His talk is co-sponsored by the Progressive Student Alliance and the Visiting Lectures Committee.

For more information, e-mail Matthew Weintraub.

Ernesto Zedillo, Thursday, April 8

Zedillo, the former president of Mexico, will deliver the 17th Annual Cohen Lecture at 8 p.m. Thursday, April 8 in Baker Hall of the Zoellner Arts Center. A proponent of economic modernization policies, Zedillo is credited with the establishment of the Exchange Risk Coverage Trust Fund, the agency that made it possible to restructure the debt of Mexican companies during the early 1980s and preserve the jobs of thousands of Mexican workers. He also served as Mexico’s secretary of public education prior to being elected to the office of the presidency in 1994.

The Cohen International Relations Lecture Series is made possible by an endowment from the late Bernard L. Cohen, a 1936 Lehigh graduate, and his wife, Bertha Finkelstein Cohen, a 1937 graduate of Moravian College.

For more information, call (610) 758-3898.

Barry Scheck, Tuesday, April 20

Scheck, the attorney and DNA expert perhaps best known for his role as part of the O.J. Simpson “dream team,” will deliver this year’s Tresolini Lecture at 8 p.m. Tuesday, April 20 in Packard Auditorium. Scheck, a longtime advocate for DNA testing, is co-founder of the Innocence Project, which has used DNA evidence to exonerate 123 wrongfully imprisoned people. He is the author of Actual Innocence: Five Days to Execution and Other Dispatches from the Wrongly Convicted, which Publisher’s Weekly described as “an alarming wake-up call” that our current system of justice is seriously flawed.

The Tresolini Law Lecture series was established in 1978 in memory of Rocco Tresolini, a professor of political science at Lehigh and a widely acclaimed constitutional law scholar who died in 1967. Previous speakers have included distinguished scholars, lawyers and journalists, such as famed litigator David Boise, Antonin Scalia, Nina Totenberg, Lani Guinier, Morris Dees and Anthony Lewis.

For more information, call 610-758-3339.

Thomas L. Friedman, Wednesday, May 5

Friedman, the Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist and editor of the best-selling The Lexus and the Olive Tree , will be the inaugural speaker for the “Lehigh University College of Education Distinguished Lecture Series: Leaders of Practice” when the program debuts at 8 p.m. Wednesday, May 5, in the Zoellner Arts Center. In an award-winning career that spans several decades, Friedman has traveled hundreds of thousands of miles reporting the Middle East conflict, the end of the cold war, U.S. domestic politics and foreign policy, international economics and the worldwide impact of the terrorist threat.

For more information, call 610-758-2787.

Posted on Friday, March 12, 2004

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