Lander College of Arts & Sciences in Flatbush Hosts Egyptian Ambassador
New York, N.Y. – The Lander College of Arts and Sciences – Flatbush (LAS) recently hosted Ambassador Youssef Zada, Consul General of Egypt in New York. The event was sponsored by the LAS Political Science Club.
Following opening remarks on the topic of “The Arab Spring: Democracy & Change in the Arab World,” Zada took questions from the audience for the remainder of the event. He spoke on a wide range of topics related to the Middle East, including such controversial subjects as the volatile situations in Iran and Syria, Egypt’s relationship with the United States and Israel as well as the state of Egypt since last year’s revolution.
“The army, of course, has made some mistakes as they don’t have expertise running things politically,” he said. “Their major mistake was confronting the demonstrators in a violent manner.”
Zada said that although Iran is “not “Egypt’s favorite neighbor,” there is no animosity between the two countries. He did, however, criticize Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for his handling of the uprising in his country. Asked where Egypt would be in ten years, Zada admitted he couldn’t answer that question properly because “prediction in the Middle East, we’ve all learned, is impossible.” He spoke fondly of the U.S and Israel, saying that that Egyptian relations with the two countries are “as strong as a rock.” At the conclusion of his talk, Zada spoke informally with the students, faculty and administration of LAS.
“We are extremely gratified that Ambassador Zada chose to speak to our students at Lander College in Flatbush about these pressing issues,” said Professor Alan A. Mond, Deputy Chair of the Political Science Program at LAS. “This was one of a broad range of programs and activities at Lander College that serve to enrich our students’ education and enhance their intellectual experience.”
Indeed, the students saw the value in hearing a different perspective.
“The school cares about the pursuit of knowledge we are so hungry for, and as long as we can maintain an academic atmosphere, all issues can be bridged,” said LAS senior Robert Staroselsky, president of Political Science Club. Staroselsky, who was born in Italy after his parents emigrated from Russia and grew up in Brooklyn, is majoring in political science and economics. “There is much that we, as Jewish students, and he, as an Egyptian official, can do to meet each other half way for the sake of our mutual interests,” he said.
Zada is the Chief of Mission for the Consulate General of the Arab Republic of Egypt in New York. He has held a number of prominent posts in the embassies of Egypt in London, Kuwait, Damascus, Algiers, Singapore and Guatemala. Prior to his current post, Zada served as the deputy director of the Institute of Diplomatic Studies in Cairo and as ambassador of Egypt to the Ukraine.
The Lander College of Arts and Sciences in Flatbush, with separate divisions for men and women, is located at Avenue J and East 16th Street in the Midwood section of Brooklyn. More than 1,000 students are enrolled each semester at the campus. Encompassing more than 90,000 square feet, the campus was inaugurated in the spring of 1995. In September 1997, the New York State Education Department officially designated this site as The Flatbush Branch Campus of Touro College.