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Tip Sheet

Not for publication

Nov. 5, 2004 -- No. 545

UNC faculty specialists can help reporters with issues related to Yasser Arafat

The following researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill are available to discuss issues related to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, who, as of Friday (Nov. 5) afternoon, was in a coma at a French military hospital. This information may be updated periodically:

Dr. Herbert Bodman, (919) 942-2778 (home), professor emeritus of history in the College of Arts and Sciences and a Middle East specialist, taught Islamic history and related courses at UNC from 1960 to 1989 and continues to teach courses. He instituted a course at UNC on the history of the Muslim world. Bodman met with Arafat in 1988 for about two hours, as a part of a group sponsored by the American Friends Service Committee.

Dr. Sarah Shields, (919) 962-8078, (919) 843-5797, (919) 933-0187 (home) or, associate professor of history in the College of Arts and Sciences, teaches courses on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the modern Middle East, among other topics. She is a specialist on historical contexts and ideologies of the people and interest groups of the region, and her research centers on Syria, Iraq and Turkey. For more on Shields, please visit

Dr. Charles Kurzman, (919) 962-1241 (office), (919) 967-4263 (home) or, associate professor of sociology in the College of Arts and Sciences, is associate director of UNCís Carolina Center for the Study of the Middle East and Muslim Civilizations. He is the author of "The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran," published in April, and is an expert on the Middle East and Islam.

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Contact: News Services staff