Welcome to CMES Conversations! Here, you can find recorded interviews our staff conduct with our guest speakers. Unlike our event videos, these Conversations distill the essence of our speakers' lectures and allow for a more free flowing back-and-forth with their interlocutors. We hope you enjoy!
CMES Conversations: spring 2015
Ussama Makdisi on Sectarianism & Modernity
CMES Director Nader Hashemi sits down with Ussama Makdisi, Professor of History and Chair of Arab Studies at Rice University, to discuss the history and future of Middle Eastern sectarianism through the lens of the current conflicts engulfing the region.
South Africa to Syria: Rafif Jouejati on the Freedom Charter
Ambassador Fred Hof on US Policy & the Future of Syria
George Irani on the Arab World in the Throes of Long-Term Change
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel chats with George Irani, associate professor of international studies at the American University of Kuwait and recent CMES Carnegie Centennial Visiting Fellow, about the regional and international political contexts surrounding the continuing upheaval throughout the Middle East.
CMES Conversations: Winter 2015
Ramin Jahanbegloo on His New Book, Time Will Say Nothing
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel sits down with Iranian philosophy Ramin Jahanbegloo, the York-Noor Visiting Chair in Islamic Studies and Associate Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto, to discuss a wide range of topics surrounding his latest book, Time Will Say Nothing: A Philosopher Survives an Iranian Prison.
Reese Erlich on ISIS and the Syrian Civil War
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel discusses the continuing humanitarian catastrophe in Syria and Iraq with Reese Erlich, award-winning journalist and author of Inside Syria: The Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect.
Shafeeq Ghabra on the Arab World between Revolution and Counter-Revolution
CMES Director Nader Hashemi sits down with Shafeeq Ghabra, Professor of Political Science at Kuwait University and recent Carnegie Centennial Visiting Fellow at CMES, to discuss the current state of Arab politics and the potential for continued reform throughout the region.
cmes conversations: fall 2014
Abdullah Al-Arian on the Future of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood
CMES Director Nader Hashemi talks with Abdullah Al-Arian, Assistant Professor of History at Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in Qatar and recent Carnegie Centennial Visiting Fellow at CMES, about what the future holds for the Muslim Brotherhood and its persecuted members throughout Egypt.
Mohsen Milani on What the ISIS Crisis Means for US-Iran Relations
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel sits down with Mohsen Milani, Executive Director of the Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies and Professor of Politics at the University of South Florida, to discuss the ongoing crises in Syria and Iraq in relation to the nuclear negotiations with Iran.
Stephen Holmes on Democracy in the Aftermath of the Arab Uprisings
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel sits down with NYU Law Professor and noted political theorist Stephen Holmes for a conversation on the future of democracy in the aftermath of the Arab uprisings.
Steven Heydemann on the History and Future of Sectarian Divides in Syria and the Levant
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel discusses the history and multiple complexities of the sectarian divides in Syria and the Levant with Steven Heydemann, Vice President of Applied Research on Conflict at the United States Institute of Peace.
Joshua Landis on ISIS, Syria & "The Great Sorting Out" in the Middle East
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel talks to Joshua Landis, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, about the processes of sectarianization under way in the Levant and the repercussions for politics and society in the Middle East.
Mona El-Ghobashy on the Egyptian Military's Roles in Curtailing Democratization - 9/12/14
CMES Director Nader Hashemi sits down with Mona El-Ghobashy, former Assistant Professor at Barnard College, to discuss the role played by Egypt's military in undermining the democratic transition and returning the country to authoritarianism.
Joshua Stacher on the Institutional Roots of Egypt's Failed Democratic Transition - 9/11/14
CMES Associate Director Danny Postel sits down with Joshua Stacher, Associate Professor of Political Science at Kent State University, to discuss the roots of Egypt's return to military authoritarianism.
Ellis Goldberg on Comparing the Egyptian & Tunisian Democratic Transitions - 9/11/14
CMES Director Nader Hashemi sits down with Ellis Goldberg, Professor of Political Science at the University of Washington, to discuss Egypt's failed democratic transition in comparative perspective.
Emad Shahin on Egypt's Failed Democratic Transition - 9/11/14
CMES Associate Director sits down with renowned Egyptian political Scientist Emad Shahin, now a Visiting Professor of Political Science at Georgetown University's Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service, to discuss Egypt's failed democratic transition and the reassertion of militarism and dictatorship.
cmes conversations: spring 2014
Gilbert Achcar on Syria & the Arab Uprisings - 5/12/14
Gilbert Achcar, celebrated political theorist at the University of London's School of Oriental & African Studies (SOAS) and author of The People Want: A Radical Exploration of the Arab Uprising, sits down with CMES Associate Professor Danny Postel for an extended interview on the Syrian civil war within the context of the Arab Uprisings.
Qusai Zakarya on Assad's Chemical Weapons Use - 5/1/14
Qusai Zakarya, the Syrian activist who staged a hunger strike to expose the crimes of the Syrian regime and survived Assad's infamous August 21, 2013 chemical weapons attack, sits down with CMES Director Nader Hashemi, to discuss Assad's chemical weapons use and what the West can do to support the Syrian rebels.
Shadi Hamid on Eliminationist Policies in Egypt - 4/28/14
CMES Director Nader Hashemi sits down with Shadi Hamid, Fellow at the Brookings Institution's Project on U.S. Relations with the Islamic World, to discuss the current political climate in Egypt and the revived persecution of the Muslim Brotherhood.
Norman Finkelstein on Teaching John Stuart Mill in Iran - 04/24/14
Renowned political scientist and activist Norman Finkelstein chats with CMES Associate Director Danny Postel about his time spent teaching John Stuart Mill's On Liberty at Imam Sadiq University in Tehran and his thoughts on the current state of Iranian intellectual life.
CMES Conversations: Winter 2014
Benjamin Barber on Democratic Development in the Middle East - 03/04/14
Esteemed political theorist and author Benjamin Barber sits down with CMES Associate Director Danny Postel to discuss the "Arab Spring," Libya, and the prospects for successful transitions to democracy in post-authoritarian states.
Larry Diamond on the Resurgence of Authoritarianism and the Prospects for Democracy after the Arab Spring - 03/04/14
CMES Director Nader Hashemi discusses the authoritarian turn in the aftermath of the "Arab Spring" uprisings with renowned democracy scholar, policy advocate, and Stanford political science professor Larry Diamond.
CMES Conversations: fall 2013
Max Blumenthal on the Syrian Civil War and the Anti-Imperialist Peace Movement - 11/21/13
Associate Director Danny Postel chats with Max Blumenthal, noted international journalist and chronicler of the Arab-Israeli conflict, to discuss the current contours of the conflict in Syria, the plight of its refugees, and its relationship to the international anti-imperialist peace movement.
Mustafa Akyol on the Future of Democracy and the Justice & Development Party in Turkey - 11/13/13
Associate Director Danny Postel sits down with Mustafa Akyol, prominent Turkish public intellectual and writer, to assess the future of democratic development and the Justice & Development Party (AKP) in light of Turkey's recent domestic and foreign policy challenges.
Stephen Kinzer on U.S. Foreign Policy Opportunities in the Middle East - 11/7/13
Associate Director Danny Postel talks to Stephen Kinzer, renowned international correspondent and historian, about the foreign policy challenges and opportunities left to the United States in the wake of the Arab uprisings.
Rashid Khalidi on the America's Attempt to Rekindle the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process - 10/25/13
Director Nader Hashemi sits down for a conversation with Columbia University Professor Rashid Khalidi, to discuss his reading of the current state of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process and the United States' role in shaping it. We hope you enjoy!
Rami Khouri on the Future of the Arab Spring and Democratic Development - 10/17/13
Associate Director Danny Postel sits down with Rami Khouri, internationally syndicated columnist and Director of the Issam Fares Institute for Public Policy & International Affairs at the American University of Beirut, to discuss the current contours of democratic development in the Middle East's post-Arab Spring societies. Enjoy!
Mohammad Fadel on the Future of Islamist Politics in Egypt After the July Coup - 9/20/13
Associate Director Danny Postel interviews Mohammad Fadel, Professor the University of Toronto Law School, about the future he sees for Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and other like-minded political actors in the wake of Egypt's July 3rd military coup d'etat.