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Recent U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Will Speak on "Roots of Terror"

November 19, 2001
Contact: Bill Giduz 704/894-2244 or bigiduz@davidson.edu

W. Wyche Fowler Jr., who stepped down last month from five years of service as U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, will speak at Davidson College on Monday, November 26, about "The Roots of Terror: Saudi Arabia and the Current Crisis." Georgia Trend magazine recently featured Fowler on its cover. Click here to read the story.

His talk, sponsored by the college's Dean Rusk Program in International Studies, begins at 7:30 p.m. in the C. Shaw Smith Room of the Alvarez College Union. There is no admission charge.

Fowler, who recently received the FBI's highest civilian citation for his assistance in solving the 1996 Khobar Tower bombing in Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, got a terrifying first-hand look at the September 11 terror attack on the U.S. He was flying into the city that morning to visit his daughter, who worked in the World Trade Center. As his plane approached the city shortly before 9 a.m., he looked out the window and saw smoke pouring from one of the towers. At ground zero, his daughter, rocked by the blast as she stood in a concourse at the base of the buildings, ran for her life and survived the attack. Fowler suffered several hours of uncertainty before finding that she was unhurt.

Fowler, a 1962 graduate of Davidson, said in a recent interview that he is confident of Saudi Arabia's good intentions in helping the U.S. fight terrorism. "They don't agree with everything about American foreign policy, but our friendship was fused in the Gulf War and it has held steadfast," he said.

Prior to his ambassadorship, Fowler served as both a U.S. Representative and Senator during 16 years in Congress representing his home state of Georgia.

Last month he was named as chair of the board of governors of the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. That organization works to increase Americans' knowledge and understanding of the region through program activities, language courses, scholars-in-residence, and an academic journal.

Fowler has an intimate understanding of the Middle East--the politics and policies surrounding oil, terrorism, and the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. During his time in Congress he served as a member of the energy and natural resources committee, where he was dedicated to developing a program to research renewable energy sources and energy efficient technologies. He was twice named "Solar Man of the Year" for his work on energy development and conservation.

Davidson is a highly selective independent liberal arts college for 1,600 students. Since its establishment in 1837, the college has graduated 23 Rhodes Scholars and is consistently ranked among the top liberal arts colleges in the country by U.S. News and World Report magazine. Davidson is currently engaged in "Let Learning Be Cherished," a $250 million campaign in support of student financial assistance, academic resources, and community life.

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