James Zogby bigraphy, stories - Founder of the Arab American Institute

James Zogby : biography

1945 -

James J. Zogby (born 1945) is the author of Arab Voices and the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.–based organization which serves as a political and policy research arm of the Arab-American community. He is Managing Director of Zogby Research Services, LLC, specializing in research and communications and undertaking polling across the Arab world. Zogby is a lecturer and scholar on Middle East issues and a Visiting Professor of Social Research and Public Policy at New York University Abu Dhabi. He is also a member of the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee.


  • Arab Voices: What They Are Saying to Us, and Why it Matters, James Zogby, Palgrave Macmillan (October 2010), ISBN 978-0230102996

Awards and honors

In 1995, Le Moyne College awarded Zogby an honorary doctor of laws degree and in 1997, named him the college's outstanding alumnus. In 2007, Temple University College of Liberal Arts also singled out Zogby as an outstanding alumnus. In 2008 American University of Cairo awarded him an honorary doctorate. Zogby was also named an Honorary Patron of the University Philosophical Society, Trinity College, Dublin.


Zogby has been the target of repeated anti-Arab threats, for which at least three men have been convicted and sent to prison. In 1980, Zogby's office in Washington, D.C. was fire-bombed. In July 2006, Zogby and other senior Arab American Institute employees were threatened in emails and voice mail messages which Patrick Syring, a career Foreign Service Officer of the U.S. State Department, sent during the 2006 Lebanon War.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/08/15/AR2007081502190.html Syring accused Zogby and the Arab American Institute of being part of Hezbollah, and Zogby of being an anti-Semite. Syring said "The only good Lebanese is a dead Lebanese. The only good Arab is a dead Arab." In one email, Syring wrote, "You wicked evil Hezbollah-supporting Arabs should burn in the fires of hell for eternity and beyond. The United States would be safer without you.".http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2007/aug/17/indicted-diplomat-retires-from-state/ Subsequently, in a March 2008 e-mail to a television station which had aired an interview with Zogby, Syring accused Zogby and the Arab American Institute of "promoting the interests of Hezbollah, Hamas and Arab terror.http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/07/11/AR2008071102846.html Syring was sentenced July 11, 2008, to one year in prison for civil rights violations but was released shortly later in January 2009.. Inmate Locator. Federal Bureau of Prisons. Retrieved November 8, 2011.

Early years and education

Zogby's ancestors immigrated from Lebanon. His father entered the United States illegally in 1922, but eventually obtained citizenship through a government policy of amnesty. Zogby was born in Utica, New York.

He attended Le Moyne College in Syracuse New York where he graduated in 1967 with a bachelor's degree in economics. He went on to earn his Ph.D. in Islamic studies from Temple University in 1975. He studied at Princeton University in 1976 as a National Endowment for the Humanities post-doctoral fellow.


During the late 1970s, Zogby was a founding member and leader of the Palestine Human Rights Campaign. In 1980, he co-founded the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee with former U.S. Senator James Abourezk and served as executive director until 1984. In 1982, while at ADC, Zogby helped create Save Lebanon, Inc., a private non-profit, non-sectarian humanitarian relief organization to fund social welfare projects in Lebanon and health care for Palestinian and Lebanese victims of war. In March 1985, Zogby founded the Arab American Institute, of which he is still president.

Since 1992, Zogby has written Washington Watch, a weekly column on American politics for major Arab newspapers, which is published in 14 Arab and South Asian countries. He has authored several books, including What Ethnic Americans Really Think (The Zogby Culture Polls) and What Arabs Think: Values, Beliefs and Concerns. He also blogs at The Huffington Post and is a member of Politicos Arena. Zogby hosted a weekly interview and call-in discussion program, Viewpoint with James Zogby, about Middle East and world issues on Abu Dhabi Television which was broadcast in America on Link TV, DirecTV and Dish Network. The show has won an award at the Cairo Radio/Television Festival.

In 1984 and 1988, Zogby served as Deputy Campaign manager and Senior Advisor to the Jesse Jackson Presidential campaign. In 1995 he was appointed as co-convener of the National Democratic Ethnic Coordinating Committee (NDECC), an umbrella organization within the Democratic Party of leaders of European and Mediterranean descent, to which he was reelected in 1999 and 2001. Also in 2001, he was appointed to the Executive Committee of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), and in 2006 was also named Co-Chair of the DNC's Resolutions Committee. He served as Al Gore's Senior Advisor on Ethnic Outreach, a post he also held in the 2008 Obama Campaign.

As an author and scholar on Middle East issues and the Arab-American community, Zogby has over the years been invited to testify before a number of Congressional Committees and Executive branch forums, including on the subject of Arab attitudes toward the United States. He has been a guest speaker in the Secretary's Open Forum at the U.S. Department of State. Zogby has also addressed the United Nations and other international forums. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

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