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Khalil Shikaki
Khalil Shikaki

KNOXVILLE — Khalil Shikaki, the leading Palestinian pollster and founder of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Social Research in Ramallah, will be at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, on Monday, Nov. 2 to talk about “State Building in Palestine: New Leadership, Reconciliation with Hamas, and the Future of Democracy.”

The event, which is being co-sponsored by the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence and the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy, will be held at 7 p.m. in the Toyota Auditorium at the Baker Center, 1640 Cumberland Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

“Shikaki’s Palestinian Center for Policy and Social Research is the leading polling entity in the Palestinian Territories and thus has its finger on the pulse of the Israeli-Palestinian situation,” said Professor Brian Barber, director of UT’s Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence.

Shikaki is coming to Knoxville to continue planning with the Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence for a proposed project to conduct a long-term follow-up of youth in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Shikaki’s Center will be collecting the data for this project

“We were very pleased he could take the time to give a public lecture; timing is ideal for such an address, given President Obama’s concerted efforts to move toward renewed negotiations between Palestinians and Israelis,” Barber said.

Shikaki is frequently quoted in news stories concerning Israeli-Palestinian relations, and most recently made the case for new elections in Palestine in an op-ed that ran in The New York Times (May 2009), in which he said, “Today, Palestinians sorely miss three things: national unity, democracy and peace. With elections, they would have a chance to regain at least two. It is a risk worth taking.”

Regarding American involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Shikaki was recently quoted as saying, “We asked whether on both sides people would like to see greater American intervention in the peace process, more than what we see now. And the answer in the Palestinian case was positively yes.” (Oct 11, “The Media Line: The MidEast News Source.”)

Shikaki received his doctorate in political science from Columbia University in 1985 and has taught at several universities including Bir Zeit University, al-Najah National University, the University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee and the University of South Florida. He is currently a senior fellow at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University.

He spent the summer of 2002 as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. Since 1993, he has conducted more than 150 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

He has authored numerous publications appearing in journals such as Foreign Affairs and Journal of Democracy, as well as op-ed articles in Arab, American, European and Asian newspapers including al Sharq al Awsat, al Quds, al Ayyam, Daily Star, The New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, Le Stampa, and LaVanguardia.

The Center for the Study of Youth and Political Violence was established at the UT Knoxville in 2005 with the aim of becoming an authoritative source and training agent for the potential joint role of scholarship, programming, practice and policy in serving the needs of adolescents involved in political violence around the world.

For more about the center, see

The Baker Center, which opened at UT in 2003, develops programs and promotes research to further the public’s knowledge of our system of governance, and works to highlight the critical importance of public service, a hallmark of Sen. Baker’s career.

The center’s facility includes a museum which explains how government works using Sen. Baker’s life as a backdrop. It also houses the Modern Political Archives, which hold more than 200 collections of political papers from prominent Tennessee leaders.

For more about the Baker Center, see

C O N T A C T :

Amy Blakely, (865-974-5034,