As the United States declares an end to combat operations in Iraq and Arab-Israeli peace talks resume, the University of Central Florida is launching a new program focused on the promise and challenges of global peace and security.

The son of Iraq’s president will give the program’s first public presentation on Thursday, Sept. 9. Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s representative to the U.S. and son of Iraq president Jalal Talabani, will speak at 3 p.m. in the Garden Key Room of the Student Union. The event is free and open to the public.

The Global Peace and Security Studies Program is aimed at helping students and community members learn about the factors that impact international peace and security. The interdisciplinary initiative includes a greater focus on peace and security within certain UCF classes, discussions and presentations open to the community and opportunities for research and partnerships with international scholars and organizations.

Public presentations this fall will cover a variety of topics that can influence global peace and security. They include climate change, arms control, immigration and the rising power of nations such as China and India.

“Peace and security are inextricably linked. In places where you have both, the dangers for the United States — abroad and at home — will diminish,” said John Bersia, special assistant to the president for Global Perspectives. “By expanding the discussion about the nature of conflict and how to promote peace, we hope to make these issues more accessible to the entire community. Over time, some of our students ideally will contribute to solutions.”

The Global Perspectives Office and the Department of Political Science are coordinating the new program, which is supported by the Peace and Security Studies Fund of the Global Connections Foundation and the sponsors of the Sibille H. Pritchard Global Peace Fellowship.

Talabani’s presentation and the new program are part of a broader initiative that includes the Washington, D.C.-based United States Institute of Peace. UCF and USIP began collaborating last year to expand community conversations about peace and inspire a new generation of young people to find creative solutions to resolving and preventing conflicts.

Talabani will give a presentation titled “Next Steps for the Kurdistan Regional Government in Iraq’s Political Evolution.” He works closely with the U.S. government, the news media and research institutions to provide analysis and up-to-date information about the situation in Iraq and the Kurdistan region.

In the aftermath of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003, he served as a Senior Foreign Relations officer for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, a leading Kurdish political party in Iraq. In that position, Talabani acted as a top liaison to the U.S.-led Coalition Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance and was a key negotiator during the drafting of Iraq’s first post-Saddam Hussein constitution.

Other upcoming events related to peace and security this semester include:

— Luis Alberto Urrea, award-winning author of “The Devil’s Highway,” will give a presentation titled “The Devil’s Highway: A True Story of Illegal Immigration, Corruption and Greed,” at 3 p.m. Sept. 23 in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union. Free.

— A “Climate Security Update” focusing on the connections between climate change and national and global security will be held at 3 p.m. Oct. 7 in the Garden Key Room of the Student Union. Free.

— A national working conference on “America and the Rising Powers” will begin at 9 a.m. Oct. 28. Speakers include Paul Wolfowitz, former U.S. deputy secretary of defense and former president of the World Bank. Advance registration is required. Free for UCF students and staff and faculty members. Call 407-823-0935 or e-mail for more information or to register.

— Rami George Khouri, executive editor of “The Daily Star” of Lebanon, will give a presentation titled “The Perils and Promise of Communication Between the Arab World, the Middle East and the West” at 3 p.m. Dec. 2 in the Garden Key Room of the Student Union. Free.

Sponsors of Talabani’s presentation include the UCF Global Perspectives Office, UCF Kurdish Political Studies Initiative, UCF Global Peace and Security Studies Program, Sibille H. Pritchard Global Peace Fellowship program, UCF Political Science Department,  UCF Middle Eastern Studies Program, UCF Diplomacy Program, UCF Terrorism Studies Program, Lawrence J. Chastang and the Chastang Foundation, Orlando Area Committee on Foreign Relations, LarsonAllen LLP, UCF International Services Center, UCF LIFE and the Global Connections Foundation.

To learn more about the Global Peace and Security Studies Program or for a full list of upcoming events, visit