CHAUTAUQUA - The editor-at-large of Time magazine told a full house of lecture attendees Monday morning that throughout his world travels, he has never seen anything like Chautauqua Institution.
Fareed Zakaria, who is also the host of "Fareed Zakaria GPS" on CNN and a columnist for The Washington Post, said he was honored to speak at the institution, and mostly discussed the status of the Middle East and present-day conflict there.
The lecture series theme for week eight at the institution is "Chautauqua's Global Public Square," which will focus on various global issues and the "interconnectedness of the global society."
Fareed Zakaria, Time magazine editor-at-large, addresses a full house at Chautauqua Institution on Monday morning. His lecture focused on the history of the Middle East and present-day conflict.
P-J photo by Katie Atkins
P-J photo by Katie Atkins
Known for his expertise and documentation of global affairs, Zakaria gave the audience a history lesson on the seventh century and explained how it shaped what is happening in present-day Iran and Iraq.
"What is happening in the Arab world today is, for the first time in a thousand years, the Arabs are in charge of their own affairs and their own society," he said. "It's because of that you are seeing the great unraveling of a great many structures and bonds that have held these places together."
Zakaria has traveled to meet with organizations like the Taliban and militias in Iraq and South Africa.
"We're going to have to get used to the idea that these societies and this region are in great turmoil," he said. "One of the things we can do is step back and try to understand it before we leap in, sure that this time in the United States, 8,000 miles away, we have the answer."
Zakaria also spoke about the overwhelming number of young citizens under the age of 30 spread across the Middle East, accounting for 65 percent of the population.
"At the end of the day, what you have are bunches of thugs who are trying to figure out how to run their communities and countries, wreak havoc, make trouble, occupy themselves and make a name for themselves," he said. "You have an excess of too many young people and, in particular, too many young men who have nothing to do - no opportunities, no jobs and no sense of fulfillment. This has always been a problem in all of human history, which is why the socialization of young men has always been one of the principal challenges of human civilization."
Zakaria is the author of three books, including two New York Times best-sellers, "The Future of Freedom" and "The Post-American World." Both have been translated into more than 25 languages.
Other featured speakers for the week include Annie Griffiths, National Geographic photographer; Geoffrey Kemp, director of regional strategic programs at the Center for the National Interest; Deborah Brautigam, professor of international development and comparative politics director at Johns Hopkins University; and Robin Wright, journalist, author and joint fellow at the U.S. Institute of Peace and Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
For more information, visit www.ciweb.org.