Bonnie Payne
events coordinator, 308.865.8469

International best-selling author and news correspondent Reza Aslan will present “The Future of the New Middle East” at the University of Nebraska at Kearney on Tuesday, Nov. 8, at 7:30 p.m. in the Drake Theatre.

Aslan, a regular on national television shows such as The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report, will address topics such as what motivates the Muslim youth of today, what the new Middle East will look like, how the sudden regime changes affect the world’s economic and political climate, the complexities of the new Middle East and what the future holds for this often-misunderstood part of the world.

“A drastic shift is taking place in the Middle East,” Aslan said. “A new generation of youth are clamoring for their rights and freedoms, and they drastically outnumber their elders.”

“Seventy-five percent of the population of the Middle East is under the age of 35 and 50 percent is under the age of 25,” Aslan said. “The young, educated and politically motivated youth in places like Iran, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and beyond have a new vision, one that represents their values, not the values of a ruling elite or of the generation that preceded them.”

According to The Lavin Agency website: “Aslan speaks for a generation of Muslims who eschew the fundamentalist stereotype and want to usher in a new era of Islamic democracy. Extremism is winding down, he says, yet media coverage suggests the opposite. Aslan has made extraordinary efforts to show Americans the true face of Islam today: a generation of changemakers in America and abroad, who are solidifying relations with the West while making their own hopeful marks on the world.”

His book, “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam” was named one of the 100 most important books of the last decade by Blackwell Publishers and is now available in 13 languages. The new edition was released for the 10th anniversary of 9/11.

Aslan, who is a world-renowned expert on Middle East history, economy, culture and populations, is also the author of “How to Win a Cosmic War,” a contributing editor to “The Daily Beast,” the editor of “Tablet and Pen,” a literary anthology that uses the arts to bridge the gap of understanding between East and West, and a member of many prominent foreign relations and policy councils.

Aslan is the president and CEO of Aslan Media Inc., which runs BoomGen Studios, a media company focused entirely on entertainment about the Greater Middle East and its Diaspora communities.

He holds degrees in religion from Santa Clara University, Harvard and University of California, Santa Barbara, and earned a MFA from the University of Iowa, where he was named the Truman Capote Fellow in Fiction.

This event, which is free and open to the public, is a part of the James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs, sponsored by the Office of International Education and all of the academic colleges at UNK.

“This year, the World Affairs Executive Committee, along with the academic deans and senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs have made the decision to hold a one-day conference during the fall semester of this 2011-12 academic year, inviting one major speaker in to present on a topic that is current and of interest to most people” said Bonnie Payne, International Outreach coordinator.

“We then plan to move the annual two-day James E. Smith Conference on World Affairs to the fall semester, starting in Sept. 2012,” Payne said.