Jim Leach lecture launches St. Ambrose program

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Former Congressman Jim Leach feels right at home with St. Ambrose University students on Thursday.

That’s because this appearance is a real homecoming for the Davenport native.

This visit is also about international relations. Middle East volatility seems a long way from the campus, but Leach is able to bring those faraway issues close to home.

“St. Ambrose recognizes that it’s part of a larger world, and that it wants to play a leadership role,” Leach said.

That world view is important at the Davenport campus. St. Ambrose University now has a Middle East Institute. The program will host events, scholars and artists. It’s a first in the state of Iowa.

“If you watch the news or read the newspaper, every day the headline stories are about challenges in the Middle East,” said Ryan Dye, international education director.

Leach will launch the program with a lecture Thursday evening at Christ the King Chapel on campus.  His talk starts at 7 and is free and open to the public.

America’s role in the Middle East continues to evolve. Leach will lecture on how that role is old, new and unprecedented.

Through it all, these are changing times for America in the push for peace abroad.

Leach realizes that the peace process is an uphill battle.

“Any moment in time it’s very unlikely,” he said. “But if you add up enough moments, you hope that something will result.”

A timely world view from an old friend back in Davenport at St. Ambrose University.