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Josef Korbel School of International Studies

Center for Middle East Studies

Welcome!

Welcome to the Center for Middle East Studies (CMES) at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies. CMES is an interdisciplinary institution dedicated to the study of Middle Eastern politics, history, and culture. We seek to engage the University of Denver community and broader public in informed discussion on topics of regional importance in an effort to deepen understanding of this critical region of the world.

To join the discussion and learn about upcoming events and publications, please subscribe to our Email List by contacting us at MEC@du.edu. We hope to see and hear from you! 

February enrichment course on ISIS announced

 The ISIS Menace: What Is It
& How Should the World Deal with It?

isis flag

The rise and expansion of ISIS (also known as ISIL or the Islamic State) represents a major turning point in Middle East politics. The organization now controls territory in the heart of the Middle East roughly the size of Great Britain. Simultaneously, its beheading of Western journalists and humanitarian workers, its persecution of religious minorities, and its enslavement of women have galvanized global horror and mobilized an international coalition for what President Obama calls a “long-term campaign” against the ISIS threat. 

In two short but high-powered sessions, Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, and Danny Postel, Associate Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, address key questions: From where did ISIS emerge? What are the organization’s ideological origins and goals? How does the rise of ISIS impact the Syrian civil war? How effective have coalition airstrikes against ISIS been? What drives young people (including from Denver) to join ISIS? What does ISIS mean for the future of the Middle East and US policy? 

Two sessions
Tue., 7-9 pm, Feb. 3, 10, 2015
CRN 1032 / $75

For more information, including how to register, visit the University College enrichment course description or call 303-871-2291.

New CMES occasional Paper published

The Holocaust & the Arab-Israeli War of Narratives:
Critical Dialogues with Gilbert Achcar

achcar paper

CMES is proud to present the third in our series of Occasional Papers: "The Holocaust and the Arab-Israeli War of Narratives—Critical Dialogues with Gilbert Achcar." In May we hosted Achcar, Professor of Development Studies and International Relations at SOAS, the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, for two robust days of lectures and conversations, including a spirited panel discussion on his acclaimed book The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli War of Narratives. His interlocutors were Ira Chernus, Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Adam Rovner, Associate Professor of English and Jewish Literature at the University of Denver. CMES Director Nader Hashemi also sat Professor Achcar down for an interview while he was here.

This Occasional Paper is the fruit of these critical engagements with Professor Achcar, whom the French newspaper Le Monde called “one of the best analysts of the contemporary Arab world.” Access the PDF by clicking here or on the cover image above.

The conflict with isis: recent cmes events & publications

ISIS

Recognizing the significance of the escalating conflict with ISIS/ISIL in Syria and Iraq, CMES is actively involved in seeking to foster greater understanding of the so-called "Islamic State" and the underlying sociopolitical factors that propelled it to prominence -- both on campus at the University of Denver and in the public sphere.

Toward that end, CMES Associate Director Danny Postel published an article entitled, "The War on ISIS: Views from Syrian Activists and Intellectuals," for the blog of Dissent Magazine , which profiles the thinking of eight Syrian thinkers and activists on the current struggle against ISIS/ISIL.

Further, CMES co-hosted a faculty teach-in with the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security and Diplomacy on the first day of Fall Quarter to discuss the various options for the U.S. in combatting ISIS/ISIL. Featuring Dean Christopher Hill, Sié Center Director Deborah Avant, and CMES Director Nader Hashemi, the event drew an enormous crowd and was recorded by three local television news outlets. In case you missed the event, you can watch it in its entirety below.

2014 Annual Conference

What Went Wrong? Egypt's Failed Democratic Transition

Egypt Banner

The Center for Middle East Studies presents a Daylong Conference Examining Egypt's Failed Democratic Transition

Friday, September 12, 2014

  • 9:15 - 9:30 am: Opening remarks - Ambassador Christopher Hill, Dean of the Josef Korbel School, and Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies
  • 9:30 - 11:00 am: The Role of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt's Democratic Transition
    • Mona El-Ghobashy, Independet Scholar
    • Joshua Stacher, Kent State University
    • Shadi Hamid, Brookings Institution
    • Emad El-Din Shahin, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
  • 11:15 am - 12:45 pm: Islamism, Liberalism, & Democratic Theory - Lessons from Egypt's Failed Transition
    • Andrew F. March, Yale University
    • Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto
    • Daniel Brumberg, Georgetown University and the United States Institute of Peace
    • Micheline Ishay, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver
  • 3:00 - 4:30 pm: Ideology, Mass Media, Popular Culture, & the Public Sphere in Egypt - Explaining the Outbreak of Fascism
    • Mohamad Elmasry, University of North Alabama
    • Joel Gordon, University of Arkansas
    • Ellis Goldberg, University of Washington
    • Abdullah Al-Arian, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service, Qatar
  • 7:00 - 10:00 pm: Screening of Jehane Noujaim's Documentary Film THE SQUARE Followed by a Panel Discussion & Open Forum,  Margery Reed Building Reiman Theater
    • Daniel Brumberg
    • Mohammad Fadel
    • Monah El-Ghobashy
    • Emad El-Din Shahin
    • Ellis Goldberg

Video from all four panels is now available on our YouTube Channel!

Noteworthy Events from 2013-14

February 18, 2014: A Conversation with Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Islamic Republic of Iran

The Center for Middle East Studies was proud to host a video conference with Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Foreign Affairs to the Islamic Republic of Iran, on February 18 at 12:00 PM in the Anderson Academic Commons Special Events Space. The event, which marked the first direct communication between Minister Zarif and an American public audience, was moderated by Ambassador Christopher R. Hill, Dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Dr. Zarif discussed the current contours of US-Iranian relations with Dean Hill via video conference from Vienna, Austria, where he was working with Secretary of State John Kerry on finalizing a deal regarding Iran's nuclear program.
 
 
Dr. Mohammad Javad Zarif is the Minister of Foreign Affairs for the Islamic Republic of Iran. Prior to assuming that post in August 2013, Dr. Zarif served as Iran's Ambassador to the United Nations (2002-2007) and Iran's Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs (1992-2002). In addition to his distinguished diplomatic career, Dr. Zarif is a proud University of Denver alumnus, earning both his MA and PhD in International Studies from DU's Graduate School of International Studies (now the Josef Korbel School) in 1984 and 1988, respectively.