Dewald Dinner and Lecture Honors Mount Union Students

November 25, 2008

David Keifer, Jenna Patterson and Eric PopczunAlam M. Paynid, a native of Afghanistan and the director of the Middle East Studies Program at The Ohio State University, was the featured speaker for the Dewald Dinner and Lecture at Mount Union College on September 3.

The annual Dewald Dinner and Lecture recognizes Mount Union students for academic excellence and brings a noted speaker to campus each year. Students invited to this event included those named to the Dean’s List for the 2007-2008 academic year. In addition, the top freshmen, sophomore and junior class scholars for 2007-2008 were recognized. The A.P. Rickard and Alice M. and Stanley T. Evans Freshman Prize was awarded to David Keifer, a chemistry major of Niles, OH. The Ralph K. and Elizabeth Ramsayer Sophomore Prize honored Eric Popczun, a chemistry major of Streetsboro, OH. The McMaster/Drushal Junior Prize recognized Jenna Patterson, a business administration major of Industry, PA.

Alam PaynidPaynid earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and Islamic studies from Kabul University, then went on to Indiana University where he earned a master of science degree in higher education, a master of arts degree in political science and a doctoral degree in political science and higher education. His fields of specialization include comparative foreign policy, Middle Eastern and South Asian politics, and international education and cultural exchange.

After moving to the United States in 1986 to work permanently at The Ohio State University, Paynid has seen Afghanistan during his visits back home in many different stages.  The United State’s political involvement and interaction with the Middle East has been a significant issue when making international security calculations from the period of Franklin Delano Roosevelt to the present.

Paynid explained, “Most of us who study the Middle East agree that, whether we like it or not, the Middle East in general, particularly Afghanistan and Iraq, will continue to remain important issues on current and future administrative agendas.”  To support this, one does not have to look any further than the current presidential campaigns.

During his lecture, Paynid made sure to focus on the many similarities and differences between Afghanistan and Iraq that many Americans tend to overlook.

When describing what the two Middle Eastern countries have in common, he said they were alike in migration, commerce and conquest.  They both are occupied majorly by Muslims, but have multi-racial, ethnic and lingual backgrounds.  Also, both have U.S. coalition forces fighting against terrorism.

He emphasized that the major difference is found when asking why they believe Americans are there.  Afghans will answer that it is because of self-defense in response to the attacks on September 11.  Iraqis, however, will say almost the reverse.  They believe it is primarily because of oil, but also to protect its allies, such as Iran and Kuwait, from the danger of Sadam Hussein.

To put these differences into perspective, he provided some statistics.  Iraq has a population of about 25 million people and is in possession of 110 billion barrels of oil.  The U.S., whose 300 million residents consume 24 percent of the world’s energy resources, has only 25 billion barrels of oil.

Currently there are 160,000 American troops in Iraq compared to 30,000 American troops and 70,000 NATO troops in Afghanistan, he added.

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