Todd Culp to speak about ‘Searching for Peace in the Middle East’

From press release

Rockford Peace & Justice Action Committee will welcome Todd Culp, author of The Friends Whose Names I’ll Never Know, featuring stories of his travels to the Middle East, at 7 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 28, at JustGoods Community Room, 201 Seventh St., Rockford.

Todd Culp, Ph.D., is a professor of history and political science who uses stories of his travels in conflict zones to bring real-world examples to the classroom. He began traveling to the Middle East in 1993 during the first Palestinian uprising.

McHenry County College history instructor Todd Culp had a front-row seat to one of the most brutal conflicts of our time and brings his real-world examples to the classroom and in his recently-published book, The Friends Whose Names I’ll Never Know.

While living in the West Bank, he interviewed militant groups such as The Islamic Jihad, Hamas and Hizb ut-Tahrir in an attempt to better understand the violence that swirled around him. Today, he spends time each year in the West Bank working with peace activists to stand against the regular violence of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict. He leads Americans on educational tours of the conflict zones in an attempt to bring the reality of this fighting home.

“It has been my privilege for the last 17 years as I walked the streets of the West Bank and Gaza to witness acts of courage, selflessness and beauty amidst the brutality that is the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict,” he said.

Much of the writing on this topic, including his own in the past, has been focused on the combatants in this conflict, compared to rare accounts about the peacemakers, according to Culp.

“Very little is written about the amazing stories of those who risk and tragically sometimes lose their lives to bring peace to this land,” Culp noted. “Of the books that are written from inside the conflict, I have taken these stories and have woven them into a book that challenges our assumptions about this enigmatic conflict.”

Culp’s Ph.D. is in political science with a specialty in political violence (i.e., terrorism, insurgency, etc.). and his master’s degree is in history.

“I’ve traveled in conflict zones in Southeast Asia and the Middle East extensively,” he said. “The following is some of my recent activity.” He included a list of his community involvement:

He developed and led study tours to Middle Eastern conflict zones for Rockford community members in January 2008 and  January 2009.

He was invited to address Congressman Don Manzullo on the findings of the Middle Eastern conflict zone tour of 2008.

He organized a construction project with volunteer builders from the Rockford community to go to the Middle East in January 2009 to aid in a college under construction there.

From the Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2010 issue

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