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The Arab-American University in Palestine on Monday's Access Utah

A white building with a flag next to it.

Today we’ll be talking about theArab-American University in Palestine. Several USU faculty members and others played a role in the founding and early success of AAUP in the early 2000s.

We’ll talk with two of those key figures, one connected with USU and the other not: Dr. James Thomas (now a USU emeritus professor), who was involved in the planning stages of the university’s founding and served as Senior Advisor to AAUP’s first president; and Cynthia Yoder, who directed the English Language Program at AAUP. Her memoir is This is Life; "Haik al-Haya": Five Years Teaching in Palestine.

Our full interview with Cynthia Yoder.

Our full interview with Dr. James Thomas.


Tom Williams worked as a part-time UPR announcer for a few years and joined Utah Public Radio full-time in 1996. He is a proud graduate of Uintah High School in Vernal and Utah State University (B. A. in Liberal Arts and Master of Business Administration.) He grew up in a family that regularly discussed everything from opera to religion to politics. He is interested in just about everything and loves to engage people in conversation, so you could say he has found the perfect job as host “Access Utah.” He and his wife Becky, live in Logan.