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LEWISBURG, Pa. – Julian Bourg, assistant professor of history at Bucknell, will get a unique glimpse behind the scenes of global terrorism defense as part of a Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) fellowship program in Israel.
Held May 26 to June 6 in conjunction with Tel Aviv University, "Defending Democracy, Defeating Terrorism" will include lectures by academics, diplomats, military and intelligence officials, and politicians from Israel, Jordan, India, Turkey and the United States.
The program will also take professors to military bases, border zones and other security installations.
( Listen to Bourg talk about places he will visit along with about 30 other professors from different disciplines.)
Israelis more familiar with terrorism
While the goal of the program is to offer information about the latest trends in terrorists' ideologies, motives, and operations, professor Bourg is also anticipating insight into a culture that has had significant experience dealing with terrorism.
"One of the dilemmas for the United States facing 9/11 was that our culture was rather naïve about attacks on our own soil," Bourg said. "Israel, however, is one of the places in the world that has known political violence for a long time."
( Listen to Bourg explain why this trip is about far more than weapons, fences, and bomb-sniffing dogs.)
Teaching on Middle East
Bourg is looking forward to applying his experience in the fellowship program to his class, History of Terrorism, which examines the shifting meanings and dynamics of terrorism starting with the origin of the word around the time of the French Revolution up until the present.
"The FDD fellowship will better equip me to teach this class, which so far has focused mainly on Europe and the United States," Bourg said. "It will enable me to introduce students to more international issues, and begin to deal with the contemporary vital issue of the Middle East."
( Listen to Bourg talk about why part of defeating terrorism is investing in the principles that are modeled in the classroom.)
Trained in European intellectual history with his Ph.D. from University of California-Berkeley, Bourg arrived at Bucknell in fall 2005. In addition to the history of terrorism, his classes cover 18th, 19th, and 20th century intellectual history and will soon include history in film.
Combining policy research, democracy and counterterrorism training, strategic communications, and investigative journalism, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies is a nonpartisan policy institute dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism.
Posted May 1, 2007