October 9, 2008               
AMHERST, Mass.—Rob Fersh, executive director of Search for Common Ground (SFCG)-USA and co-director of the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project, will deliver a lecture titled “Building a National Consensus to Improve U.S.-Muslim Relations” at Amherst College’s Cole Assembly Room at 8 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 23. Fersh’s talk, which will focus on a recent report released by SFCG on how to make the country safer and improve U.S.-Muslim relations, is sponsored by the college’s Multifaith Council, Amherst Association of Students, Office of the President, Schwemm Fund, Office of Religious Life and the Multicultural Resource Center. It is free and open to the public.
As executive director of Search for Common Ground-USA, Fersh oversees the projects conducted in the United States by Search for Common Ground (SFCG), a leading international conflict transformation organization operating in 17 countries worldwide. He also currently co-directs the U.S.-Muslim Engagement Project and previously directed a national policy consensus project in health care coverage for the uninsured. Prior to that, he served for 12 years as president of the Food Research and Action Center, a leading nongovernmental organization that advocates policies and programs to alleviate hunger in the United States, and on the staffs of three Congressional committees, working for U.S. Rep. Leon Panetta and Sens. Edmund Muskie and Patrick Leahy.  He also worked for the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service and a leading nonprofit organization involved in U.S. domestic social welfare issues.  He was a 1994 recipient of the Prudential Foundation Prize for Nonprofit Leadership.
Fersh holds a law degree from Boston University and an undergraduate degree in Industrial and Labor Relations from Cornell University. He is married to Sharon Markus and has four children, ages 17 to 23.  For more information, go to www.usmuslimengagement.org