Iraqi ambassador to France to speak in Stonington on Islamic State threat

Stonington - The LaGrua Center in the borough will sponsor a presentation about Syria, Iraq and the threat from the Islamic State group, also known as ISIS, led by Iraqi Ambassador to France Fareed Yasseen at 7 p.m. on Monday.

The event is open to the public. A $5 donation is suggested.

Center Executive Director Jane Meiser said the center was able to land Yasseen as a speaker thanks to volunteer Stuart Schwartzstein, a former U.S. State Department and Defense Department employee who is a friend of Yasseen. She added it was Schwartzstein who was able to bring Iraq's ambassador to the United Nations to the center last year. "We want to do expand out current affairs and world affairs programming and he's helping us do that," she said.

"There's so much going on in the world today, and ISIS is at the top of everyone's mind. We're lucky to have been offered this opportunity. We're hoping people take advantage of it," she said.

Yasseen will speak and then answer questions.

According to the center, Yasseen was educated in Iraq, Switzerland and the United States. He then trained as a physicist and initially carried out research in Europe and the United States before getting involved in political activism and human rights advocacy. He was formerly the head of policy planning, Iraqi Ministry of Foreign Affairs and diplomatic adviser to Deputy President Adil Abd al-Mahdi. He has held his current position since 2010.

The event, which was rescheduled from January because Yasseen had a family emergency, is being held in conjunction with the Southeast Connecticut World Affairs Council.

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