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Center for Middle East Studies Recent Events

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Recent Events

Here, we keep a running tab of the recent events sponsored and co-sponsored by the Center. Archived information and video from past events not shown here can be found at on our YouTube Channel and photo albums from many of the events are posted on our Facebook photo stream.

Monday, May 12 & Tuesday, May 13

CMES was proud to host a series of May events with Gilbert Achcar, Professor of Development Studies & International Relations at the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS). 

 Achcar

We kicked off on Monday, May 12 with a lecture on Prof. Achcar's recent book, The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising, featuring Korbel professor Micheline Ishay as discussant. Video from the event can be watched here
 
Tuesday followed up with two events. First: "Political Theory Forum with Gilbert Achcar: A Conversation on Orientalism, Cosmopolitanism, and Revolution," a noon roundtable discussion on political theory in the Middle East with Micheline Ishay, co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies, the Political Theory Forum, and the Middle East Discussion Group.
 
Prof. Achcar capped his visit to Denver with a panel discussion on book, The Arabs and the Holocaust: The Arab-Israeli W ar of Narratives, which featured discussants Ira Chernus (Department of Religious Studies, University of Colorado at Boulder) and Adam Rovner (Department of English, University of Denver). Video from that event will be available shortly.

Thursday, May 1

Rising Up Against Assad's War Crimes: The Siege of Syria and What the International Community Can Do to End It, with Qusai Zakarya

Qusai

CMES was honored to host Qusai Zakarya, Syrian civil society activist and citizen journalist, for an afternoon presentation on the continuing human rights catastrophe in his home country. Zakarya gained international recognition and acclaim for his hunger strike during the Assad regime's starvation siege of his hometown, Moadamiya. He also survived a sarin gas attack during the siege. Video from his moving presentation will be available shortly.

Monday, April 28

Why the United States is Giving Up on Middle East Democracy, and Why That's a Big Mistake. A Lecture by Shadi Hamid

HamidThe Center for Middle East Studies hosted Shadi Hamid, Fellow with the Project on US Relations with the Islamic World at the Brookings Institution's Saban Center for Middle East Policy, for an afternoon lecture and discussion with Amb. Christopher Hill, Dean of the Josef Korbel School, on shifting U.S. foreign policy priorities in the Middle East. Prior to taking up his position at the Saban Center, Dr. Hamid served as Director of the Brookings Doha Center and Director of Research at the Project on Middle East Democracy. His new book is Temptations of Power: Islamists and Illiberal Democracy in a New Middle East. Video from the event will be available shortly.

Thursday, April 24

The Israel-Palestine Peace Process: The End, A New Beginning, or More of the Same? A Lecture by Norman Finkelstein

FinkelsteinThe Center for Middle East Studies was pleased to host Norman Finkelstein - esteemed political scientist, author, activist, commentator - for a talk on the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process. Finkelstein is the author of numerous books, including Knowing Too Much: Why the American Jewish Romance with Israel is Coming to an End (2012), This Time We Went Too Far: Truth and Consequences of the Gaza Invasion (2010), Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History (2005), and The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the Exploitation of Jewish Suffering (2000). Video from the event will be available shortly.

Friday, april 4

The Failure of the Post-Colonial State in the Middle East: A Conversation between Chris Giannou and Nader Hashemi

GiannouThe Center for Middle East Studies was honored to host an afternoon discussion with Chris Giannou, longtime war surgeon and former Head of Unit Surgery for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). Dr. Giannou has led a distinguished medical career through some of the world's most dangerous conflicts: in Lebanon, Somalia, Chechnya, Liberia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He is author of Besieged: A Doctor's Story of Life and Death in Beirut (1991) and lead author of War Surgery: Working with Limited Resources in Armed Conflict and Other Situations of Violence (2009). Video of his far-reaching and prescient remarks is now available on our YouTube page.

wednesday, march 5

"Boycott Israel?" a Discussion of the American Studies Association to Join the Academic Boycott with Steven Salaita

SalaitaCMES co-sponsored an open forum event with the DU chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine on the American Studies Association's (ASA) recent announcement to join an academic boycott of Israel. Steven Salaita, Associate Professor of English at Virginia Tech, led the discussion. He is the author of six books and writes frequently about Arab Americans, Palestine, and decolonization. His current book project is entitled Images of Arabs and Muslims in the Age of Obama. Professor Salaita was joined by Korbel Professor Joseph Szyliowicz as discussant.

Tuesday March 4

Is Democracy in Global Decline? A Lecture by Larry Diamond

diamondCMES co-sponsored an afternoon lecture with Stanford University professor, Larry Diamond. Larry Diamond is Director of the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford, and Faculty Co-Director of the Haas Center for Public Service. He is also a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution and the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, and founding co-editor of the Journal of Democracy. His book, The Spirit of Democracy: The Struggle to Build Free Societies Throughout the World, explores the sources of global democratic progress and stress and the future prospects of democracy. Video from the event will be available shortly.

 

Inter-national Affairs or Inter-city Affairs? Why the Sovereign State is Over: A Lecture by Benjamin Barber

Barber

On the evening of March 4, mere hours after Larry Diamond's lively presentation, CMES co-hosted esteemed political theorist and author, Benjamin Barber, for a lecture on the future of state sovereignty. Benjamin R. Barber is a Senior Research Scholar at the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at The City University of New York's Graduate Center and Walt Whitman Professor of Political Science Emeritus at Rutgers University. He is the author of numerous books on political theory and current trends in international politics, including "Strong Democracy: Participatory Politics for a New Age" (1984), "Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World" (1996), "Fear's Empire: War, Terrorism, and Democracy in an Age of Interdependence" (2003), and "If Mayors Ruled the World: Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities" (2013). The event was co-sponsored by DU's Political Theory Forum.

Tuesday February 18

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

Zarif Poster
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. Video from the event will be available shortly.
 
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.

Tuesday January 21

Israel-Palestine Peace: What if the Two-State Solution Fails? A Lecture by David Kretzmer

KretzmerOn January 21, CMES welcomed Israeli legal scholar David Kretzmer for a lecture on the current political realities facing Israeli, Palestinian, and American negotiators in their renewed attempts to resolve the ongoing conflict in Israel, the Occupied Territories, and Gaza. 

David Kretzmer is Professor Emeritus of international law at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and a professor of law at the Transitional Justice Institute at the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. He was a founding member of the Minerva Center for Human Rights at Hebrew University and served on the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which he co-chaired in 2001 and 2002. He is the author of Israel and The West Bank: Legal Issues (1984), The Legal Status of the Arabs in Israel (1990), and The Occupation of Justice: The Supreme Court of Israel and the Occupied Territories (2002).

Tuesday, January 14

Interfaith Leadership in a Time of Global Religious Crisis. A Lecture by Eboo Patel

Eboo PatelOn January 14, CMES had the privilege of hosting Eboo Patel, founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, for a lecture on the changing dynamics of interfaith leadership and activism in the contemporary global environment of religious tension or hostility. 

Eboo Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core, a Chicago-based organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses. Author of the books Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation, which won the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion, and Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America, Dr. Patel is also a regular contributor to the Washington Post, USA Today, NPR, and CNN. He served on President Obama's Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-based and Neighborhood Partnerships and holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he was a Rhodes Scholar.

Monday, January 13

The Iran Project: A Discussion with Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Jim Walsh, with moderator Nader Hashemi

Pickering and Walsh

The Center for Middle East Studies was proud to work with World Denver in bringing esteemed US diplomat Amb. Thomas Pickering and MIT Security Studies Research Associate Dr. Jim Walsh to Denver for an evening discussion on US relations with Iran, the Iranian nuclear program, and the US sanctions regime. CMES Director Nader Hashemi moderated the discussion, which took place at Denver's storied Brown Palace Hotel. Our thanks to Karen de Bartolome and Jan Goerzen at World Denver for making the event possible!

Amb. Thomas R. Pickering is a retired US Foreign Service Officer. In his four decade-long career with the State Department, Amb. Pickering served as United States ambassador to Jordan, Nigeria, El Salvador, Israel, India, Russia, and the United Nations. He retired in 2001, having attained the highest rank in the Senior Foreign Service, Career Ambassador.

Dr. Jim Walsh is a Research Associate with MIT's Security Studies Program, focusing on nuclear weapons proliferation and terrorism. Before MIT, Dr. Walsh was Executive Director of the Managing the Atom project at Harvard's John F. Kennedy School of Government and a visiting scholar at the Center for Global Security Research at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Wednesday, November 13

The State of Democracy in Turkey: Assessing Erdoğan and the Justice & Development Party (AKP). A Lecture by Mustafa Akyol

Akyol

On November 13, CMES hosted Mustafa Akyol, prominent Turkish writer and social commentator, to discuss the current political trends in Turkey, specifically with regard to Turkey's democratic evolution under the leadership of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the Justice & Development Party.

Mustafa Akyol is a political commentator and public intellectual based in Istanbul. He is a columnist for Hurriyet Daily News, Turkey's foremost English-language daily, and Al-Monitor. He is the author of Islam without Extremes: A Muslim Case for Liberty (2011). He is also the author of five books in Turkish, including Rethinking the Kurdish Question (2006). His writings have appeared in Foreign Affairs, The Guardian, the Washington Post, and the Financial Times, among other publications.

Thursday, november 7

US Foreign Policy Challenges in the Twilight of the Obama Presidency. A Panel Discussion with Stephen Kinzer, David Sanger, & Amb. Christopher Hill

On November 7, CMES co-hosted two spectacular events featuring our guest, renowned journalist and author, Stephen Kinzer. The first event, "US Foreign Policy Challenges in the Twilight of the Obama Presidency," featured not only Stephen Kinzer, but his former colleague at the New York Times and equally distinguished journalist, David Sanger. Moderated by Dean Christopher Hill, the panel discussion touched on numerous topics ranging from US nuclear negotiations with Iran to the future of cyber security and "killer robots." The event was part of the Korbel School's Public Diplomacy Speaker Series, generously co-sponsored by the Sié Chéou-Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy, the Edward W. & Charlotte A. Estlow International Center for Journalism & New Media, and the University of Denver's Department of Media, Film & Journalism Studies. Video from the panel is available here.

Kinzer-Sanger Event

Upheaval as Opportunity: Proposals for a New American Role in the Middle East. A Lecture by Stephen Kinzer

Later in the evening, Stephen Kinzer delivered a solo lecture, "Upheaval as Opportunity: Proposals for a New American Role in the Middle East," in which he discussed promising - if challenging - opportunities for the US to pursue in its foreign policy towards the Middle East. Video of his lecture is available here.

Thursday, October 24 & Friday, October 25

Khalidid

American Mediation between Israel and the Palestinians: The First Time as Tragedy, the Second Time as Farce? A Lecture by Rashid Khalidi

The Center for Middle East Studies was honored to host Rashid Khalidi, Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University, for a series of events that kicked off with his lecture on the evening of Oct. 24, which addressed the long and - in his view - deceitful history of US involvement in the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

A Panel Discussion with Rashid Kahlidi

On Friday, October 25, Prof. Khalidi brought his arguments before a panel of Korbel faculty members - Professors Tom Farer & Micheline Ishay. Videos from both events are available on our YouTube Channel.

Rashid Khalidi is Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. He was President of the Middle East Studies Association and an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the Madrid and Washington Arab-Israeli peace negotiations from October 1991 until June 1993.
 
He is the author of Brokers of Deceit: How the U.S. has Undermined Peace in the Middle East (2013), Sowing Crisis: American Dominance and the Cold War in the Middle East (2009), The Iron Cage: The Story of the Palestinian Struggle for Statehood (2006), and Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (1996), among other books.

Tuesday, October 22

The Crisis of Zionism: A Panel Discussion with Peter Beinart

 

BeinartThe Center for Middle East Studies was pleased to host Peter Beinart, Associate Professor of Journalism & Political Science at City University of New York (CUNY), for an afternoon discussion of his recent influential book, The Crisis of Zionism. Mr. Beinart's remarks were followed by discussion featuring a panel of DU faculty members including Alan Gilbert, John Evans Professor at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, David Goldfischer, Associate Professor of International Studies at Korbel, and Jonathan Sciarcon, Assistant Professor of Jewish & Middle Eastern History with DU's Department of History and Center for Judaic Studies. 
 
In addition to his academic posting, Mr. Beinart is a Schwarz Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation, a Senior Political Writer for The Daily Beast and Editor of their "Open Zion" blog. He is author of The Good Fight: Why Liberals - and Only Liberals - Can Win the War on Terror and Make America Great Again (2006) and The Icarus Syndrome: A History of American Hubris (2010). Video from the event will be available shortly.

Thursday, October 17

"Has the Arab Spring Failed? The Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East"
A Lecture by Rami Khouri, American University of Beirut
Discussant: Nader Hashemi
 
Rami KhouriRami Khouri is among the preeminent public intellectuals in the Arab world today. He is Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy and International Affairs at the American University of Beirut (AUB) and writes an internationally syndicated column distributed by Agence Global.
 
He is Editor-at-Large, and former Executive Editor, of the Beirut-based Daily Star newspaper. He is a member of the Brookings Institution's Task Force on US Relations with the Islamic World, a Senior Fellow of the Middle East Initiative at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, and a Fellow of the Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs in Jerusalem. He served for four years on the international advisory board of the International Committee of the Red Cross and in 2006 he was the co-recipient of the Pax Christi International Peace Award for his efforts to bring peace and reconciliation to the Middle East.
 
Video of Mr. Khouri's full lecture is available on our YouTube Channel, as is a ten-minute interview conducted by CMES Associate Professor Danny Postel.

Friday, september 20

"The Crisis in Egypt: Liberalism, Islamism, and the Struggle for Democracy"
A Lecture by Mohammad Fadel, University of Toronto Law School

Discussant: Micheline Ishay

FadelThe Center for Middle East Studies at DU's Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Ved Nanda Center for International & Comparative Law at DU's Sturm College of Law hosted a discussion about Egypt's ongoing political turmoil with renowned Islamic legal scholar and democratic theorist Mohammad Fadel, whose lecture was followed by commentary from Micheline Ishay, Professor at the Korbel School.

Mohammad Fadel is Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair at the University of Toronto, where he is cross-appointed in the Faculty of Law, the Department of Religion, and the Department of Near & Middle Eastern Civilizations. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Paul V. Niemeyer of the United States Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit and the Honorable Anthony A. Alaimo of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. Professor Fadel has published numerous articles on Islamic legal history, international human rights, liberalism and democratic theory.

CMES Associate Director Danny Postel sat down with Prof. Fadel afterwards for a follow-up interview, which has been posted to our YouTube channel. You can also find his full lecture there.

Thursday, April 25 

"Challenging a Founding Amnesia and Working Towards a Decent Solution in Israel/Palestine" -  A Lecture by Alan Gilbert with Discussant, Andrea Stanton

gilbert

CMES was pleased to host an afternoon discussion with University of Denver John Evans Professor, Alan Gilbert. Professor Gilbert offered an insightful inquiry into the state of affairs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict based upon his recent experience in the West Bank last October with a delegation from the American civil rights movement. DU Religious Studies professor Andrea Stanton offered her thoughts as well.

Alan Gilbert is John Evans Professor at the University of Denver's Josef Korbel School of International Studies. His many books include Democratic Individuality (1990), Must Global Politics Constrain Democracy? (1999), and Black Patriots and Loyalists: Fighting for Emancipation in the War for Independence (2012). He blogs at Democratic Individuality. You can view Professor Gilbert's full lecture on our YouTube Channel.

Monday, April 15

"The Future of Iraq: A Kurdish Perspective," a Discussion with Dr. Fuad Hussein

Hussein

CMES was proud to host Dr. Fuad Hussein, Chief of Staff to President Massoud Barzani of Iraq's Kurdish Regional Government, for a conversation with Dean Christopher Hill of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. Dr. Hussein discussed the ongoing challenges facing Iraq and Iraqi Kurds as the nation continues to rebuild and democratize after nearly a decade of war and occupation.

Stay tuned for video of the conversation, filmed in the beautiful Renaissance Room.

Thursday, April 11

"Advocating for Civilians in Conflict," a Conversation with Sarah Holewinski

HolewinskiCMES was pleased to welcome Sarah Holewinski, Executive Director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict, for her talk on the programs her organization manages advocating for civilian rights in war-torn areas of the world. 

Sarah Holewinski has served as the Executive Director of the Center for Civilians in Conflict since 2006. She has traveled to Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, Lebanon, and Israel to lobby for smarter, more compassionate policies for war victims.

 

 

Wednesday, April 3

 "Lessons from The Iraq War, 10 Years On"

Panel 1: 12:30 - 2:00 PM  
Panel 2: 5:30 - 7:30 PM

Iraq War

On April 3rd, the Center for Middle East Studies, the Center on Rights Development, and the Sie-Cheou Kang Center for International Security & Diplomacy hosted an afternoon of events commemorating, questioning, and analyzing the U.S. invasion of Iraq 10 years ago. Taking advantage of the beautiful main event space in the newly renovated Anderson Academic Commons, the panels of prominent scholars, policymakers, and military personnel engaged in an afternoon of discussion, debate, and reflection to mark the Iraq War's 10th anniversary.

Panelists included: Christopher Hill, Dean of the Korbel School and Ambassador to Iraq (2009-2010); Thabit A.J. Abdullah, Associate Professor of History at York University and author of Dictatorship, Imperialism & Chaos: Iraq since 1989 (2006) and A Short History of Iraq, from 636 to the Present (2011); General George Casey (Ret.), 36th Chief of Staff of the U.S. Army and Commander of Multinational Force Iraq (2004-2007); General Charles Jacoby, Commander of U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command; and Lt. General Dana K. Chipman, Judge Advocate General of the U.S. Army.

Video from Panel 1 is available on our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, April 2

"The Arab Spring and the Dynamics of Global Autocracy," a Lecture by Daniel Brumberg

Tuesday, April 2, 12:00 PM - Joy Burns Center 

BrumbergOn April 2nd, CMES welcomed Dr. Daniel Brumberg, Associate Professor of Government at Georgetown University, for a lecture on the challenges facing the Middle East and the "global network of autocracies" in the wake of the "Arab Spring." The lecture took place in the Joy Burns Center of the Fritz Knoebel School of Hospitality Management, a first for CMES, and was followed by remarks by University Professor and former Dean of the Korbel School, Tom Farer.

Video from the event is available on our YouTube channel.

Tuesday, february 26

On February 26, 2013, the Center hosted Dr. Vali Nasr, Dean of the Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC. As part of the official launch of the Center, Dr. Nasr gave a noon lecture on the policy implications of the Arab Spring. Dr. Nasr's remarks, shown below, received an excellent review and critique from Korbel student, Alison Lowe, on her blog, as well as a write-up on the Korbel website from Communications Director, David Proper.

Dr. Nasr's lecture is now being transcribed for publication as part of the Center's Occasional Paper Series. Stay tuned!