It’s an area we all watch wonder and worry about, because there’s always a clash, often a crisis: tribe against tribe, country against country, religion against religion, my bomb vs. your bomb; governments destroy their own cities, drop barrel bombs on their own citizens. Peace talks never begin, or last one day and disintegrate the next.
These are conflicts that we romanticize and soften with labels like “Arab Spring,” “popular uprisings,” or “peace initiatives.”
Why? Is it all about dictators (as in Libya, or Egypt), all-important tribalism (as in Kenya or Nigeria), religion (Northern Ireland or Kashmir), or even water (as in both our future and theirs)? Or is it simply so many colliding factors that there seems to be no single reason or solution?
This series will not chase events that happen a week or month before we meet, nor will it compete with the daily electronic and local news coverage of these occurrences. Instead, our goal is to review history, explore backstories that give us some context to better understand those inevitable events that are guaranteed to occur over and over, again and again.
We will cover how these crises developed, and why they are important. We’ll remind ourselves of Colonial intruders who shaped the lines to their own advantage, and in doing so, misshaped the future forever; then we’ll follow “the first Muslim,” and many of his divisive-minded followers, as they created some of the deepest intra-faith hatreds today.
As well, we’ll track America’s actions in the area, fumbling as often as succeeding. But we’ll not ignore the two overriding considerations: ‘the bomb’ with its growing presence, and Israel itself, our strongest commitment, while at the same time, the most evident targets for some. Finally, we’ll analyze the “Arab Spring” and conclude with a thoughtful analysis of where we, and the Middle East, appear to be going in the immediate future.
Again this year, we’ve recruited the best of the best to share their insights, thoughts, and fears with us. For all who care for the world, its most dangerous region, and where it’s going, this series is a must.
- Bruce Macdonald, Chair, Summer Lecture Series
This Year's Speakers:
For a closer look at this year's speakers, click on the image below.
Charles Sennott - Co-Founder and Editor-At-Large for GlobalPost
Award-winning foreign correspondent Charles Sennott tells how events leading to popular uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and an outbreak of civil war in Syria were shaped by history and by the moment. Sennott, co-founder of GlobalPost and correspondent for two FRONTLINE documentaries on Egypt's 'revolution,' looks at how U. S. foreign policy failed to see historic changes and missed the moment to promote democracy in a new Middle East.
Prof. Ilan Troen - Brandeis Professor, Helping Establish Centers of Israel Studies in the U.S. and Foreign Countries
On a topic that evokes strong feelings on a multitude of issues, Ilan Troen has been in the forefront of developing the field of Israel Studies as an academic subject in Israel and the United States. He will examine core issues in the challenge of reconciling a national movement with democratic principles in an often hostile environment of competing nationalisms both internal and external to the Jewish state.
Click on the video below to view a clip from Prof. Troen's lecture.
Michele Flournoy - Three Time Winner of the D.O.D. Medal for Distinguished Service
Former U.S. Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Michele Flournoy, with uniquely impressive knowledge of the subject, provides an overview of nuclear proliferation in the Middle East and the drivers behind it. She will also frame the strategic consequences of further proliferation should Iran acquire the bomb and others follow suit, and the options available to the United States and the international community.
Ronald Kiener - Trinity Professor, Visiting Lecturer at Universities in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv
What are the main themes of the United States’ century-long involvement in Middle Eastern affairs? Professor Ronald Kiener suggests some discernible patterns. His presentation explores key developments which changed the way the United States relates to the region, and how the region relates to the United States, with special emphasis on the radically new military and diplomatic engagement of the last two decades.
Click on the video below to view footage from the presentations by Ms. Flournoy and Prof. Kiener.
Dr. S. Ayse Kadayifci-Orellana - Author, Teacher, and Lecturer on Conflict Resolution
Doctor Kadayifci-Orellana has found that religious conflicts involving Muslim societies can be effectively resolved using distinct peacebuilding approaches, and has demonstrated success on the ground in Pakistan, Palestine, Sudan, Darfur, Chad, Iran and beyond. Solutions are rooted in religious and cultural practices, but can they also work in the more diverse Middle Eastern community at large?
Click on the video below to view a clip from Dr. Kadayifci-Orellana's lecture.
James Gelvin - UCLA Professor of Modern Middle Eastern History
UCLA Professor Gelvin has written extensively on the making of the Modern Middle East, and here focuses on two key events in its history. The first was the construction of actual states and the Middle East state system in the aftermath of World War I. The second was the transformation of the Arab world itself, from the period following World War II up to the Arab uprisings of 2010-2011.
Click on the video below to view a clip from Prof. Gelvin's lecture.
Robin Wright - Journalist, Correspondent, Author, Lecturer
Drawing on 40 years of covering Middle East wars, revolutions and political crises, Robin Wright explores trends that will reshape the world's most volatile region over the next decade. She'll put the headlines of events from North Africa to the Persian Gulf - pivotal turning points in the early 21st Century - into perspective and explain their impact on the wider world.
Click on the video below to view a clip from Ms. Wright's lecture.
It's easy to obtain copies of the filmed sessions of our lecture series. CATV, based in White River Junction, films the majority of our lecture series, and sells copies via DVD through their main office. Visit their table just outside of Spaulding Auditorium on Wednesday mornings, or click here to view a copy of their order form. You must place your order through CATV; the OSHER@Dartmouth office does not handle DVD sales.
Our Summer Lecture Series takes place in Spaulding Auditorium, which is located at the rear of Hanover, NH's Hopkins Center. Attendees can access Spaulding from any Hopkins Center entrance, but the closest entrance is at the rear of the Hop, just off Lebanon St. There are many options for parking: Click here to view a map of SLS parking sites.
Last Updated: 8/14/14