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'Let's Do Lunch!' to address the meaning of social protests in Middle East

RELEASED: May 16, 2011

Let's Do Lunch LogoEAU CLAIRE — The recent social protests in Arab countries and what they mean for democracy in that part of the world will be the topic of a May 25 luncheon sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire Alumni Association.

Dr. Ali R. Abootalebi, professor of Middle Eastern and global politics at UW-Eau Claire, will present "Arab Upheavals 2011: 1989 redux or something else?" from noon-1 p.m. at Sweetwaters Restaurant in Eau Claire as part of the Alumni Association's "Let's Do Lunch!" series.

Abootalebi, who was born in Tehran, Iran, will share his cautious optimism toward the idea that the social protests in Arab countries could mean the end of authoritarian rule by Arab states and the arrival of democracy.

Abootalebi came to the U.S. in 1977 and earned a bachelor's degree in political science and economics. He holds master's degrees in international studies from the University of Washington and in political science from the University of Arizona, where he also earned his doctoral degree in political science. He has been teaching courses in Middle Eastern and global politics for the past 20 years and is an executive council member for the Wisconsin Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies. He has made numerous speaking appearances and has published extensively on issues pertinent to Islam and politics, Islam and democracy, Arab-Israeli conflict and Iran's political economy.

The speaker series is open to the public. The cost is $10 per session and includes the presentation, buffet, beverage, tax and tip. For more information or to reserve tickets, contact the Alumni Association at alumni@uwec.edu or 715-836-3266.

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MC/RD/AH

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