Iraqi ambassador for the United Nations to speak at USD What were conditions like before Saddam Hussein was overthrown in Iraq? Are the Iraqi people better off than they were before war broke out in their country five years ago? H.E. Ambassador T. Hamid Al-Bayati, Ph.D., Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, will address those questions and other human rights issues when he speaks to students at The University of South Dakota on Wednesday, Oct. 22. As part of the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, Al-Bayati, who was appointed Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations in April 2006, is the former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for Political Affairs and Bilateral Relations of Iraq. He will discuss his current U.N. responsibilities as well as his time spent as a prisoner of Saddam Husseinâ�?�?s regime during the program, â�?�?The Transition to a Democratic Iraq: A Status Report,â�? at 7 p.m. in the Al Neuharth Media Center on the USD campus. Before he was appointed as Permanent Representative of Iraq to the United Nations, Al-Bayati headed the Iraqi Center for Strategic Studies. Upon his arrival to the U.N. in New York in 2006, Al-Bayati made significant progress as Iraqâ�?�?s Permanent Representative and he was elected chair of the U.N.â�?�?s Third Committee related to Social, Economic and Human Rights during its 61st session. Furthermore, Al-Bayati is one of the vice presidents of the General Assembly for the U.N.â�?�?s 62nd session. In addition to lecturing about Iraq throughout the United States, Al-Bayati has visited several countries and convened with presidents, kings and leaders of those nations such as George W. Bush, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Vladimir Putin of Russia, Juan Carlos of Spain and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran. A former member of the Executive Council of the Iraqi National Congress, Al-Bayati received his bachelorâ�?�?s degree from Baghdad University (Iraq), a masterâ�?�?s degree from Cairo University (Egypt) and obtained his Ph.D. in politics from Manchester University (England). â�?�?This is an extraordinary opportunity for the USD community, particularly our students, to hear how T. Hamid Al-Bayati is fighting for human rights in the Middle East,â�? stated William D. Richardson, Ph.D., professor and chairperson of the department of political science and director of the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership. â�?�?His story of overcoming oppression and torture in his own country is truly remarkable.â�? For more information about this event, which is free and open to the public, or the W.O. Farber Center for Civic Leadership, please contact the Farber Center at (605) 677-5702 or e-mail Farber.Center@usd.edu.