UC Merced Professor Gets a New View of Terrorism

MERCED - Professor Gregg Herkenwon a fellowship through the Foundation for Defense of Democracies that will take him to Israel for 10 days this summer.

The FDD, which formed after the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, annually invites several university professors to attend an intensive 10-day seminar at the University of Israel in Tel Aviv, to hear lectures and participate in discussions with academics, diplomats, military and intelligence officials, and politicians from Israel, Jordan, India, Turkey and the United States.

Participants will also visit military bases, border zones and other security installations to learn the practical side of deterring terrorist attacks.

"My interest in the FDD's Academic Fellows program stems from my dual interest in history and unresolved global conflicts. For better or worse, it's likely that this region of the world will determine much of this century's future history," Herken said. "Unfortunately, it's also likely that the Middle East will be the arena for another academic interest of mine: the use or threatened use of weapons of mass destruction."

Herken is a history professor who specializes in American diplomatic history, nuclear history and the history of the Cold War. He is the author of "Brotherhood of the Bomb: The Tangled Lives and Loyalties of Robert Oppenheimer, Ernest Lawrence, and Edward Teller," an exploration of the lives of the scientists most responsible for the advent of weapons of mass destruction. For that work, he was named as a finalist for the 2003 Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

A member of UC Merced's founding faculty, Herken previously served as a senior historian and the curator of Military Space at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.

He also taught recent American history and the history of American foreign policy at Oberlin College, Yale University and Caltech.

In addition to "Brotherhood of the Bomb," Herken has written three other books, "The Winning Weapon: The Atomic Bomb in the Cold War;" "Counsels of War;" and "Cardinal Choices: Presidential Science Advising from the Atomic Bomb to SDI."

He also served as a senior research and policy analyst to the President's Advisory Committee on Human Radiation Experiments, at the request of the U.S. Department of Energy, as a result of the research done for "Brotherhood of the Bomb."

Herken will join 45 other professors from all over the U.S. and Canada on the trip from May 26 through June 6.

The FDD said this is the largest group of scholars it has hosted, and it had more than 150 applicants this year.

"We invest a lot of time, money and research into presenting the best program possible because we're confident that people like Professor Herken will make the most of it," said David Silverstein, the FDD's vice president for campus programs.

The FDD bills itself as "the only nonpartisan policy institute dedicated exclusively to promoting pluralism, defending democratic values, and fighting the ideologies that drive terrorism."

The late Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick, former ambassador to the United Nations, was instrumental in founding the FDD. She was the first woman appointed as Permanent Representative of the United States to the United Nations and as a member of Ronald Reagan's Cabinet and National Security Council (1981-85). For her government service, Kirkpatrick was awarded the Medal of Freedom -- the nation's highest civilian honor -- in May 1985.

FDD board members and advisers include Steve Forbes, CEO of Forbes Magazine; Jack Kemp, former secretary of Housing and Urban Development; Judge Louis J. Freeh, former FBI director; Sen. Joseph Lieberman, (D-CT); Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich; and many others.

"While the impetus behind the creation of the FDD was reactive - it was formed in response to the terrorist attacks of September 2001 - the intent of the Foundation's Academic Fellows program is to affect positive change, particularly in the western democracies' response to terrorism," Herken said.

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