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Dr. Roby Barrett, a Scholar with the Public Policy Center of the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., and Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University, US Special Operations Command, will lead a special presentation on Sunday, February 19, 2017 at 5:00 pm at the Church Street Auditorium, located at 306 North Church Street in downtown McKinney, TX.

This 60-minute community-wide presentation will be followed with refreshments, book signing* and a 30-minute Q&A session.

Context, experience, and informed analysis matter as crises in the Middle East continue to make international headlines. Few are as qualified as Roby Barrett to speak to these complex and shifting realities from a place of decades of informed participation and genuine scholarship, and without the sensationalism and partisanship that cloud so many discussions of the topic.

The evening's presentation on February 19 is about understanding the situation, not about political or religious agendas. The discussion is concerned with information and learning, rather than with promoting the interests of any political party or religious group. You are invited to join in this engaging and timely opportunity to help facts find context, and to be led by one of the world's leading experts on an increasingly important subject to many. Dr. Barrett has published extensively and is the author of a new work, The Gulf and the Struggle for Hegemony: Arabs, Iranians, and the West in Conflict (Middle East Institute, 2016). (www.mei.edu see the book tab on the web page for more information)

First United Methodist Church of McKinney is sponsoring the evening forum. No registration is required, and the community is invited.

*20% of proceeds from book sales will go toward First UMC McKinney's ministry with its "adopted" school, Caldwell Elementary in Downtown McKinney.

More about Dr. Barrett:

Dr. Roby C. Barrett is a scholar and Gulf expert with the Middle East Institute, Washington, DC, and a Senior Fellow at the Joint Special Operations University of US Special Operations Command, where he also has been an instructor for applied intelligence. He is a briefer and subject matter expert with Special Operations—US Central Command. He provides support to various US government organizations including the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the National Defense University, the State Department, and the intelligence community. Dr. Barrett has over 40 years of government, academic, and business experience in the Middle East. A former Foreign Service Officer in the Middle East, he also is an expert on the cultural and political dynamics of the region and historical Islamic and political development as well as terrorism issues. Initially trained as a Soviet and Russian specialist, Dr. Barrett brings unique insights to his evaluations of regenerated competition between Russia, China, and the United States in the Middle East and Africa. His posting, projects, and other assignments included North Africa, the Levant, the Arabian Gulf, and Southeast Asia. He has been a featured presenter on Gulf and Middle East affairs at USSOCOM and Special Operations-Central Command. From 2010 to 2012, he was a visiting professor at the Royal Saudi Arabian Command and Staff School—War Course. He has been a featured expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations and with the Bundeswehr. Dr. Barrett also has served as a Senior Fellow on Gulf affairs at the US Air Force Special Operations School. In 2007-2008, he supported the 101st Airborne Division in the US and Iraq. He has spoken at numerous Middle East conferences including the Bahrain MOI Gulf Security Forum, the opening of the King Abdullah Special Operations Training Center, and the Arabian Gulf SOF Conference. Dr. Barrett holds a Ph.D. in Middle Eastern and South Asian History from the University of Texas at Austin. He was an Eisenhower-Roberts fellow of the Eisenhower Institute in Washington DC, a Rotary International Fellow at the Russian and East European Institute at the University of Munich, and a Scottish Rite Research fellow at Oxford University. He is a graduate of the Foreign Service Institute's intensive two-year Arab Language and Middle East Area Studies program and attended the Counterterrorism Tactics Course and the Special Operations courses.

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