Former hostage, CNN Middle East bureau chief to speak

Jerry Levin, former American hostage and CNN Middle East bureau chief and current Christian Peacemaker Teams volunteer, and his wife Sis Levin are to speak on their work for peace and nonviolence in the West Bank.

The lecture, titled “A Report on the Struggle to Wage Peace and Nonviolence in the Holy Land,” will take place at 2:50 p.m. April 20 in the WSU Vancouver Multimedia Classroom Building, room 1. The event is free and open to the public.

The presentation is a sharing of their firsthand account of what is happening today in Palestine and Israel. As an experienced television reporter, Levin tells a powerful story and handles questions with no-holds-barred candor. Levin’s recently published book “West Bank Diary,” based on the reports he has been filing from that area since the second uprising in Palestine began in September 2000, will be available at the event.

On his escape after almost a year’s captivity in Lebanon over 21 years ago, Levin, who had been the Beirut-based Middle East bureau chief for CNN in the early 1980s, decided that he and his wife Sis needed to dedicate themselves to bringing understanding and reconciliation to the various factions in the Middle East. Now, as a full-time volunteer with the CPT in Hebron, West Bank, for the past five years, Levin daily faces hostility and violence trying to be an instrument of calm and justice, and to communicate the untold facts about the “occupation” to audiences around the world.

At the same time, Sis Levin, through her “The Children of Abraham Interfaith Peace Teaching Project” has initiated a program to prepare educators on how to teach nonviolence and resilience to Palestinian students systemically, all the way from pre-K through university. Sis, an internationally known peace educator and certified professional mediator, attracted international attention in the mid-1980s in connection with her successful efforts to create the conditions by which Levin was able to escape from his captors. The book, “Beirut Diary,” is her account of that experience, and was later made into the ABC-TV docudrama “Held Hostage.”

The Levins will be available for interviews from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in Multimedia Classroom Building Room 102Q before the lecture. To arrange an interview, please contact Kiri Horsey at (360) 546-9520 or

This event is co-sponsored by the Association Students of Washington State University Vancouver and the Social and Environmental Justice Club.

WSU Vancouver is located at 14204 N.E. Salmon Creek Ave., east of the 134th Street exit from either I-5 or I-205. Parking rules are enforced Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Parking is available in the blue lot for $2.00 or at parking meters.

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