Trita Parsi is president of the National Iranian American Council and wrote Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran and the United States. He receives the award for the ideas in his book about achieving Middle East peace.
Parsi says it can be reached through comprehensive diplomacy that works to improve relations between Iran and Israel.
“The entire arena has come to be defined by the rivalry between the United States and Israel vis a vis Iran,” Parsi says. “So, as a result, unless you have a comprehensive approach to the region you will most likely repeat the failures of the past in which we were trying to resolve every conflict in separation of the others.”
Parsi characterizes the rivalry between Iran and Israel as a quest for regional power rather then one based on ideology, even though both have purposely focused on ideology.
“Both Iran and Israel have seemed to have the preference of casting this as ideological because of their calculation,” he says, “an erroneous calculation in my view, but nevertheless, the calculation that that is the best way for them to strengthen their position.”
Parsi conducted extensive interviews with dozens of officials of the three countries and illustrated instances when the U.S. did not pursue prospects for compromise. This happened, he says, because of flawed assumptions his book highlights.
“The critical contribution was to show that this is a strategic conflict that has a solution and it rejected the idea that this is an ideologically driven contestation that inevitably will lead to conflict,” he says.
Each year, the Grawemeyer Foundation at U of L gives awards for ideas improving world order, outstanding works in music composition, psychology, education and religion.