The first in a series of educational forums at California State University, Fresno presenting different perspectives on U.S. involvement in the Middle East and U.S. engagement in Afghanistan will be held Thursday, Nov. 15, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in University Student Union, Room 311 (5280 N. Jackson Ave.).

The forums are jointly sponsored by the Campus Coalition for Peace and Civil Liberties, Fresno Peace, the Beth Anne Harnish Lectures, KFCF 88.1 FM, the university’s College of Social Sciences and its Departments of Economics and Anthropology.

The first forum today, “Regrettably Shortsighted Policies,” focuses on a case study of U.S. foreign policy toward Iran, featuring Dr. Sasan Fayazmanesh, a Fresno State economics professor, as speaker.

Other forums are scheduled throughout November and early December, including Nov. 27 when journalist Norman Solomon of the Institute for Public Accuracy speaks.

Carole Snee, a member of the Campus Coalition for Peace and Civil Liberties, said the purpose of the forums is “to present perspectives of individuals who have close experience with issues related to the Middle East, the Muslim world and the media.”

“The speakers will offer in-depth analyses of U.S. foreign policy in the region, implications of the aftermath of the September 11 attack and media representations of events,” Snee said. “The forums are also intended to promote discussion and exploration of alternatives to war in the resolution of current conflicts.”

The Campus Coalition for Peace and Civil Liberties was formed recently by students, faculty and staff at Fresno State in response to the U.S. military action in Afghanistan as part of the campaign against terrorism, said student Dawn Proteau, coalition facilitator.

“As we heard the growing cry for war, a coalition of students, faculty and staff has joined together to form a campus-based community seeking more informed, thoughtful and long-term solutions to the current crisis,” said Proteau. “We take this trauma as a time to reaffirm our commitment to peace, justice, democracy and multicultural diversity.”

Paul Gilmore, Fresno State history professor and coalition organizer, said the group established three areas of focus for its work in the coming months: “creating a world built on peace and non-violence, upholding civil liberties and standing-up against hate violence, discrimination and racial profiling.”

Funding for the future forums is provided by The Beth Anne Harnish Endowment at Fresno State.

Norman Solomon, executive director for the Institute for Public Accuracy, will discuss “Media and the War: Journalism or Propaganda?” on Tuesday, Nov. 27, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. in University Center, Rm. 200 (5240 N. Jackson Ave.).

“Bin Laden and the Taliban: The New U.S. War Against Terrorism” will be presented by Dr. As’ad AbuKhalil, professor in the Department of Politics and Public Administration at California State University, Stanislaus, on Thursday, Dec. 6, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. in University Student Union, Rm. 317 (5280 N. Jackson Ave.).

The fourth forum, “The September 11 Attack and Its Aftermath: An Indonesian Perspective” will be presented by Goenawan Mohamad, University of California Regents Professor at UCLA, on Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 12:15 to 2p.m. in the University Center, Rm. 202 (5240 N. Jackson Ave.).

The Beth Anne Harnish Endowment was established in 1960 in memory of Fresno State student Beth Anne Harnish, who died an airplane accident in 1959, to promote the pursuit of truth and enhance multicultural awareness and understanding, Snee said. Operated through the California State University Foundation, the endowment has funded more than 30 prominent speakers brought in by the Harnish Lecture Committee for the local community.

For more information about the forums, contact Snee at 278-2811 or Dr. Vida Samiian, 278-3056.