John Agresto, former chancellor and provost at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, will speak about efforts to revitalize higher education in that war-torn country and on the future of higher education around the world at the University of Richmond Nov. 22.

His lecture, titled “Liberal Education in Non-Liberal Countries: The Promise and Perils of Trying to set Up a Liberal Arts University in Iraq,” will be held at 4:30 p.m., in Jepson Hall, Room 120. 

Agresto, the former acting chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, was president of St. John’s College in New Mexico from 1989 to 2000. During the Iraq war, the U.S. Department of Defense recruited him to come to Iraq where he served as senior advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, before being named to head the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, a private, liberal arts university.

He subsequently wrote the book “Mugged by Reality: The Liberation of Iraq and the Failure of Good Intentions,” a memoir of his experiences in Iraq.” A book signing and reception will follow the lecture.

Agresto’s appearance is part of the Marshall Center Lecture Series, which hosts experts in the fields of constitutionalism, politics, political economy and ethical reasoning. The lecture is free and open to the public but registration is required. For more information or to register, go to or call Shannon Best, community programs coordinator, at 804-287-6522.

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