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Regardless of our culture, country of origin, age or gender, food plays a powerful and vital role in our daily lives. Fouad AbuGosh, news producer for the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in Jerusalem, Israel, believes food's power can be transformative in promoting conversation across divisions. He will speak on that topic at the Peace and Pita event Feb. 27 at 7 p.m. in the Student Center ballroom. Hosted by the Office of International Programs as part of the Year of the Middle East and North Africa, Peace and Pita will also include a reception featuring Middle Eastern cuisine following the lecture. The event is free and open to the public.

"Through food people can put their political disputes on hold and discern the smell and the taste of each other's traditional cuisine, which could be an opportunity for better understanding," AbuGosh said.

Born and raised in the small village also called Abu-Gosh, located eight miles northwest of Jerusalem, AbuGosh graduated from Hebrew University with a degree in mass communications. He is an active member of the Hand-in-Hand Jewish-Arab Education Center, a foundation promoting coexistence between Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem. He worked for BBC News from 2004 to 2013, covering a wide range of topics including the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Arab Spring of 2011. Among his awards for journalism are the Walkley Award for Excellence in Journalism from ABC Australia; the 2016 Amnesty International Media Awards, recognizing excellence in reporting on human rights issues in the Australian media; and in 2006, the Sand Ford St. Martin Trust award for a report about life after death.

The Office of International Programs' "Year of..." program annually selects a region of the world around which to build a calendar of cultural events to promote international understanding. The program was founded in 2012. For more information, please contact Jenn Mason, director of international initiatives. To learn more about all of OIP's programming, please visit