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DU to Convene Global Experts on ISIS Crisis

Middle East & Foreign Policy Scholars to Gather at the University of Denver Wednesday to Explore Roots of Regional Conflict

DENVER — September 29, 2014 — Some of the leading experts in the world will gather Wednesday at the University of Denver to make sense of the ISIS crisis and the wider sectarian conflict that helped produce it.

The Center for Middle East Studies and the Conflict Resolution Institute at DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies are teaming up with the Aspen Institute's Middle East Programs on Wednesday's high-powered panel discussion with experts from the United States Institute of Peace as well as several universities.

Members of the media are invited to attend.  Please RSVP to Theresa Ahrens at 303-871-4778 or theresa.ahrens@du.edu.

  • WHAT: Expert Panel Discussion on "Sectarianization — ISIS, the Syrian Conflict & the Future of the Middle East"
  • WHEN: Wednesday, October 1 at 7 p.m.
  • WHERE: University of Denver, Anderson Academic Commons, Special Events Room (1st floor)
  • WHO: Steven Heydemann (United States Institute of Peace), Joshua Landis (University of Oklahoma), Marwa Daoudy (Georgetown University), Nader Hashemi (University of Denver)

"By sectarianization, we mean: What are the processes and mechanisms that fuel sectarian conflict in the Middle East?" said Nader Hashemi, Director of the Center for Middle East Studies and Associate Professor at the Josef Korbel School.

"Sectarian divisions go back several centuries, but why do they get triggered and inflamed at specific moments in time? Those are the questions we will explore Wednesday night," said Hashemi. "Without examining these historical and political dynamics, we can't make sense of the ISIS problem," he said.

The Center for Middle East Studies has created a resource page with links to articles, books, and multimedia features on sectarian conflict, including this Info Guide on the Sunni-Shia Divide produced by the Council on Foreign Relations.

The event, which is free and open to the public, is co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Studies and the Conflict Resolution Institute at DU’s Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Aspen Institute's Middle East Programs.

More about the speakers at Wednesday's forum:

Joshua Landis

  • Editor of the Syria Comment blog
  • Author of "Why Syria is the Gordian knot of Obama’s anti-ISIL campaign"
  • Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma

Steven Heydemann

  • Vice President of Applied Research on Conflict at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP)
  • Author of "Syria's Uprising: sectarianism, regionalisation, and state order in the Levant"
  • Author of Authoritarianism in Syria: Institutions and Social Conflict, 1946-1970

Marwa Daoudy

  • Assistant Professor of International Studies at Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies
  • Former Lecturer in the Politics & International Relations of the Middle East at Oxford University
  • Author of "Sectarianism in Syria: myth and reality"

Nader Hashemi

  • Co-Editor of The Syria Dilemma
  • Director of the Center for Middle East Studies, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, DU
  • Associate Professor of Middle East and Islamic Politics, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, DU