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Department of Communications/
News Bureau
22 Davis Hall, 10 Lippitt Road, Kingston, RI 0288
Phone: 401-874-2116 Fax: 401-874-7872

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116

CNN correspondent to speak at URI
about growth of global terrorism

Peter Bergen set to lecture Sept. 16
as part of Honors Colloquium

KINGSTON, R.I. -- September 9, 2003 -- CNN terrorism correspondent Peter Bergen, who met with Osama bin Laden in 1997, will speak about "Globalization and the Growth of Global Terrorism," on Tuesday, Sept. 16 as part of the University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium.
Bergen’s lecture in Room 271 of the Chafee Social Science Center at 7 p.m. is free and open to the public. It is the second in the series entitled, "The Futures of Globalization," which runs through Dec. 2.

"The talk will reflect my recent travel to Afghanistan and Pakistan researching the threat posed by al Qaeda since 9/11," Bergen says on the colloquium web site. "And the talk will try to answer some of the following questions: How has al Qaeda reinvented itself since 9/11? How effective has the U.S. campaign been against the new al Qaeda? How did al Qaeda's top leadership give the slip to the most powerful army in history following 9/11? Is al Qaeda an organization or an ideology? Or both?"

He said a central theme running through the talk will be the answer to the seemingly simple question: What is al Qaeda? "Al Qaeda is now one of the best-known organizations in the world, with brand recognition seemingly only eclipsed by another successful franchise operation: McDonalds. Yet there is a great deal of ambiguity about what exactly constitutes al Qaeda."

Bergen asks whether it is a terrorist organization run in a regimented top-down fashion by its CEO, bin Laden, or is it a loose knit group of tens of thousands of Islamist radicals around the world whose only common link is that they trained in Afghanistan?

He further asks if al Qaeda has evolved into an intensely anti-Western ideology that has now been adopted by millions? Or, Bergen asks, is it all of the above?

Bergen is a print and television journalist and author of Holy War, Inc., about bin Laden and Islamist militant groups around the world. He is a terrorism analyst for CNN and recently worked as a special correspondent for National Geographic's Explorer program. He has written for a variety of publications including The New York Times, The New Republic, Vanity Fair, Foreign Affairs, The Washington Post and The Washington Times. In the United Kingdom, he has written for The Times, The Guardian and The Daily Telegraph. He is presently a fellow at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C.

In January, he began lecturing at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

From mid-1998 to late 1999 he worked as a correspondent-producer for CNN. He was a program editor for "CNN Impact," a co-production of CNN and TIME, from 1997 to 1998. Previously he worked for CNN as a producer on a wide variety of international and U.S. national stories. From 1985 to 1990 he worked for ABC News in New York in a variety of positions, including associate producer.

While writing Holy War Inc. Bergen was awarded the Leonard Silk journalism fellowship and was a Pew Journalist in Residence at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University.

A documentary based on Holy War Inc., which aired on National Geographic's Explorer program, was nominated in 2002 for an Emmy in the research category. Holy War, Inc. was a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into fifteen languages. Bergen received a bachelor of arts in modern history from New College, Oxford.

Please visit for the most current colloquium information and full schedule of events and directions, or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or

The program’s major sponsors are: the URI Honors Program and President’s Office, The Providence Journal, Fidelity Investments, URI Foundation, URI College of Arts and Sciences and the URI College of Business Administration.

Other sponsors are the URI Office of Student Affairs, URI Alumni Association, URI Multicultural Center and URI College of Pharmacy.

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Page last revised Tuesday, September 9, 2003 .