Nadav Tamir, the consul general of Israel to New England, was the invited speaker at a recent invitational dinner and discussion. The event was sponsored by the Middle East Center for Peace, Development and Culture.
UMass Lowell Chancellor Marty Meehan, Provost Ahmed Abdelal and Center Director Paula Rayman welcomed the guests, including Marcellette Williams, vice president for Academic Affairs and International Relations for the University of Massachusetts system.
Tamir grew up on a kibbutz and first met a Palestinian while taking an advanced degree at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He praised UMass Lowell’s new Peace and Conflict Studies program for serving as a neutral ground to bring differing groups together.
Tamir gave an optimistic assessment of changes in the Middle East, despite continuing conflicts.
“Optimism is constructive and pessimism is a self-fulfilling prophecy,” he said, citing some encouraging developments in the struggle between ideological radicalism and the forces of modernization and cooperation. Tamir has served under three foreign ministers of Israel: Shimon Peres, Ehud Barak and David Levy. In the United States, he has been posted in Washington, D.C., and Boston.
The Middle East Center reflects the growing commitment of UMass Lowell to be a leader on key international issues of our time and to provide the educational vision to promote peace and understanding.