LAWRENCE — Scott Anderson, author and veteran war correspondent, will speak at 7:30 p.m. Monday, October 17, in the Lied Center Pavilion. “Lawrence in Arabia” is free and open to the public. A reception and book signing will occur after the lecture. The event is sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities.
At the Paris Peace Conference at the end of World War I, a young British colonel repeatedly warned against his government’s plan to divide the conquered lands of the Middle East into imperial spheres of control. For his trouble, the colonel was finally banished from Paris, the carving-up went ahead as planned – and disaster struck almost precisely as he had foretold. That officer was T.E. Lawrence, better known as “Lawrence of Arabia,” and today the world continues to live with the consequences of his ignored warning.
This talk will partly be about the life and exploits of T.E. Lawrence, with a focus on why he was uniquely able to foresee the terrible mistake the West was to make in the Middle East. It will also bring that history forward to the present day.
Over the past year, veteran war correspondent Scott Anderson has made four extended trips to the Middle East to compile an in-depth report on the Arab Spring revolutions, which appeared in a special issue of the New York Times Magazine on Aug. 14. In the course of these journeys, he’s been on the frontlines of the war in Iraq, interviewed captive ISIS fighters and chronicled the stories of a disparate group of people whose lives have been forever changed by the events of the past five years.
It is Anderson’s intention to not only show how so much of the current turmoil and tragedy of the region has its roots in bad decisions made nearly a century ago but to also discuss where the crisis is likely to go next.
This lecture is part of a campuswide collaboration to commemorate the centennial of the first World War. Look for more events sponsored by the Hall Center, other campus units and community partners over the next two years as KU and the surrounding community explore the war and its effects.