Wednesday, June 14, 2006


EDITORIAL CONTACT: Lisa L. Rollins, 615-898-2919

Political Science Faculty’s Petersen Traveled to Israel for Firsthand Experience

(MURFREESBORO)—Not many people could imagine taking a 10-day trip to Israel with the objective of experiencing the tragedy and terrorism that others live through on a day-to-day basis.
But for MTSU’s Dr. Karen Petersen, visiting military bases, border zones and other security installations in Israel represented an ideal chance to learn the practical side of deterring terrorist attacks.
An assistant professor of political science, Petersen recently was accepted as a 2006-07 academic fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C., a nonprofit, non-partisan think tank that seeks to educate Americans about the terrorist threat to democracies worldwide.
The FDD, according to information contained in a press release, produces independent analyses of global terrorist threats and sponsors programs that promote democratic ideals at home and abroad to help protect the individual freedoms guaranteed within democratic societies.
As an academic fellow with FDD, Peterson participated in an intensive series of lectures by academics, diplomats and military officials from India, Israel, Jordan, Turkey and the U.S. in addition to embarking on field trips throughout Israel to learn how democratic states combat the terrorism threat, said Audra Ozols, FDD’s coordinator for campus programs.
Experiencing the FDD-sponsored trip to Israel, which took place May 27 through June 7, was not an opportunity that availed itself to many, however, since only 45 people from throughout the U.S. were selected as fellows.
“The chairman of political science, Dr. John Vile, told me about the opportunity to be come an academic fellow and I applied,” Petersen said. “Since I will soon be teaching a course in international conflict, this was a good opportunity.”
Petersen said the fellowship will prove helpful in the political science courses she already teaches as well as those that she is developing.
“When I found out about the academic fellows program, I actually showed it to a number of faculty members, and I thought Dr. Petersen would be an especially good candidate because she teaches in this area,” Vile said. “Since Petersen is just beginning her teaching career, she will thus have many years ahead where she can share this information with her students and colleagues.”


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Regarding the fellowship study, “The idea is to see how another democratic society deals with terrorism, and to become better equipped about terrorism,” explained Petersen, who adds that the FDD program was established after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Additionally, Petersen said she was honored to be among the handful of fellows chosen and eager to represent the university as part of the program.
“This is not just a wonderful opportunity to me, but it’s also a great opportunity for the students here at MTSU, because I will be able to come back and share what I learned in Israel with them,” Petersen said. “This program will benefit all of my courses. ...”

ATTENTION, MEDIA: For interview requests with Petersen, please contact Lisa L. Rollins in the Office of News and Public Affairs at or by calling 615-898-2919. ***Please note that Petersen has color jpegs from her Israel trip available for editorial use upon request.

• NOTE: Media outlets that choose to reprint this press release “as is” are asked to provide byline credit for the above story to KaToya Jackson, who is an MTSU mass communication and education major.

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