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Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak will deliver a speech on the Middle East on Thursday at the University of Utah.

The speech, open to the public, is titled "The Middle East: Today and Tomorrow" and helps launch a world leadership forum at the Obert C. and Grace A. Tanner Humanities Center that aims to bring international figures to the university to discuss issues and events of global importance.

"The Tanner Humanities Center is bringing Ehud Barak to campus because of his knowledge of the situation in the Middle East and his critical role in attempting to bring peace to the region," said Bob Goldberg, director of the center.

"It was Barak who engineered the withdrawal of Israeli forces from Lebanon in 2000 and joined with President Bill Clinton and Chairman Yassir Arafat at Camp David in an attempt to end the 50-year Arab-Israeli war.

"This effort brought the Middle East as close to peace as it had been for more than a generation, and perhaps as close as it will be for another generation," Goldberg said.

Gun-right advocates and the University of Utah are cooperating in security measures for Barak's visit.

The venue will provide metal detectors operated by law enforcement officers who will scan everyone entering the building. Locked storage boxes will be provided where concealed weapons permit holders can store their guns so they don't have to be unarmed all day, said Clark Aposhian, chairman of Utah's Department of Public Safety Concealed Carry Review Board.

"This really shows a sense of cooperation with the University of Utah, the Attorney General and gun rights advocates to facilitate an appropriate secure area and make sure it's done correctly," he said.

Barak also also will speak that night at a private dinner.

Joining Goldberg on the advisory cabinet for the World Leaders Lecture Forum are Paul Ahlstrom, Joseph Cannon, J. Lynn Dougan, Spencer P. Eccles, Hinckley Institute of Politics Director Kirk Jowers, Mary Kay Lazarus, Norma Matheson, Scott S. Parker, Patricia A. Richards and Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff. The cabinet, in collaboration with the College of Humanities, will oversee the series and the selection of speakers.

"The new series will serve as a catalyst for insight and discussion of global concerns with both immediate and long-term consequences for all of us worldwide," said Goldberg.

The Tanner Humanities Center was founded in 1988. Its mission is to facilitate in-depth research about the human condition and to build partnerships across campus and in the community that foster dialogue about the issues and events.

Barak speech

* What: speech by former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak

* When: Thursday at noon

* Where: Kingsbury Hall, University of Utah