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Center for Middle East Studies


Center for Middle East Studies

Past Events

The Center for Middle East Studies often records the lectures and panels we host. Find a collection of videos from our past events on this page. 

To find all of our videos in one place, including the interviews from our  Middle East Dialogues series, please visit our YouTube channel.

2018 Events

"Rising Tides of Hate: A Panel and a Conversation"
November 6, 2018

CMES, the Interdisciplinary Research Institute for the Study of (In)Equality (IRISE), the Department of Religious Studies, and the Center for Judaic Studies hosted a panel to discuss increasing tides of hate in the United States. This conversation was prompted by the murder of 11 people in a synagogue on October 27, 2018, an event that manifested a sinister matrix of Antisemitism, Islamophobia, and anti-Latinx hatred. Professors Nader Hashemi, Sarah Pessin, Tom Romero, and Andrea Stanton served as panelists. Faculty Senate President Darren Hicks moderated the discussion, and closing remarks were given by Frank Tuitt, Senior Advisor to the Chancellor and Provost of Diversity and Inclusion.

"The Context of Antisemitism and Islamophobia in France"
November 2, 2018

CMES hosted a discussion with Dr. Paul Silverstein, professor of anthropology at Reed College, Dean Pardis Mahdavi, and Professor Rachel Esptein regarding the theme of secularism in France and its connection to issues of antisemitism and Islamophobia in French society. Dr. Silverstein drew upon material from his most recent book, Postcolonial France: Race, Islam and the Future of the Republic, published by Pluto Press.

"Crisis in Yemen: Should the U.S. Break from Saudi Arabia Over Its War Crimes?"
October 30, 2018

CMES organized an important panel discussion on the the humanitarian crisis in Yemen and its implications for U.S.-Saudi relations. The panelists provided their professional and academic insight regarding a variety of aspects of the conflict, including America's role in the crisis.The discussion was moderated by CMES Director Nader Hashemi and the panelists were Ambassador Gary Grappo, Dr. Ammar Naji (Colorado College), and Dr. John Willis (University of Colorado Boulder).

"Trump's Redefining of Anti-Semitism: Implications for Freedom of Speech in Higher Education"
October 23, 2018

CMES, the Department of Religious Studies, and the Department of History hosted a public conversation on the potential implications of the expanded definition of anti-Semitism recently outlined by the U.S. Department of Education. CMES Director Nader Hashemi moderated the discussion between Professors Andrea Stanton (Religious Studies), Jonathan Sciarcon (History and Judaic Studies), and Adam Rovner (English and Judaic Studies). 

"Workshop on Human Rights in the Middle East"
September 21, 2018

CMES, along with the Josef Korbel School of International Studies and the Center on Human Rights Education, hosted an full-day workshop featuring conversations on human rights discourse in the Middle East context. Participants included Korbel faculty, as well as guests Anthony Chase of Occidental College and Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa Division at Human Rights Watch. Click here for the full workshop schedule and participant bios.

"Muslims in America: Examining the Facts"
September 14, 2018

CMES and the Department of Religious Studies hosted Dr. Craig Considine, sociologist at Rice University, for a discussion on the history and perceptions of American Muslims. Drawing on historical documents, Dr. Considine offered an objective analysis and critique of misguided assumptions about Muslim communities in the United States. Dr. Andrea Stanton, chair of the religious studies department, gave introductory remarks.

"Trump and the End of the Iranian Nuclear Deal: What Comes Next?"
May 16, 2018

CMES and the Colorado European Union Center of Excellence hosted a Korbel faculty panel discussion of the implications of Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. Faculty provided a variety of perspectives on the topic, and audience members posed questions following their remarks. Panelists included CMES Director Nader Hashemi, CMES Distinguished Fellow and former Ambassador Gary Grappo, Professor David Goldfischer, and Professor Martin Rhodes. Korbel Acting Dean Pardis Mahdavi moderated the event.

"Syria, Sarin Gas, and Savagery: How Should the World Respond?"
April 17, 2018

Following the most recent reported chemical attack on civilians in Douma, CMES hosted a forum with experts from the Josef Korbel School of International Studies on what's next for Syria and the global response. Panelists included CMES Director Nader Hashemi, CMES Distinguished Fellow and former Ambassador Gary Grappo, Professor Micheline Ishay, University Professor and Dean Emeritus Tom Farer, and Professor Lewis Griffith.


"The New Saudi Crown Prince: Committed Reformer or Just Acting the Part?"
March 29, 2018

In the midst of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's tour of the United States, CMES hosted a panel event to discuss his foreign and domestic policies and what they mean for the kingdom and the region. The panel included CMES Director Nader Hashemi, CMES Distinguished Fellow and former Ambassador Gary Grappo, and Human Trafficking Center/Human Rights Program Director Claude d'Estree.

"Middle East History: 100 Years Looking Back with Fawaz Gerges"
March 1, 2018

CMES was honored to host Fawaz A. Gerges, Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science, and one of the world's leading authorities on the Middle East. Dr. Gerges gave a public talk on Middle East history over the last 100 years, based on research for his upcoming book, The Making and Remaking of the Middle East, 1918-2018, to be published by Princeton University Press in 2018.

"After the Iranian Protests: A Conversation with Ali Kadivar"
February 22, 2018

The Center for Middle East Studies was pleased to host a public conversation between Ali Kadivar, postdoctoral fellow at Brown University's Watson Institute, and CMES Director Nader Hashemi. Kadivar spoke about how we can evaluate the political legitimacy of the Iranian government in light of recent protests, and the key obstacles to a democratic transition during the short and medium term.

"Protests in Iran: How Should the U.S. Respond?"
January 16, 2018

The Center for Middle East Studies welcomed Pardis Mahdavi, scholar of Iran and current acting dean of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, for a public discussion on the recent protests in Iran. Mahdavi and CMES Director Nader Hashemi discussed the forces behind the protests, how these protests differ from the 2009 Green Movement, and what they might mean for the regime going forward.

2017 Events

"A Torah of Justice for Israel: A Conversation with Rabbi Arik Ascherman"
October 26, 2017

Rabbi Arik Ascherman spoke to a packed house of both DU and Denver community members about his decades of work as a human rights activist in Israel and Palestine. Ascherman led Rabbis for Human Rights for 21 years before founding Torat Tzedek-Torah of Justice. Professor Alan Gilbert served as the discussant for this event.

 "Trump's Plan to Kill the Iran Nuclear Agreement: A Conversation Between Trita Parsi and Dean Christopher Hill"

October 4, 2017

We were pleased to host Trita Parsi, acclaimed author and expert on U.S. Iranian relations, Iranian foreign politics, and the geopolitics of the Middle East, for a conversation on the future of the Iran nuclear agreement under President Trump. The event featured a conversation between Parsi and Josef Korbel Dean Christopher Hill. Parsi's latest book,  Losing an Enemy: Obama, Iran, and the Triumph of Diplomacywas released in June.

"Donald Trump and the Crisis of U.S Democracy: Implications for Global Affairs"

September 21, 2017

Our fall quarter kickoff event featured a panel of esteemed Korbel faculty from a range of disciplines who discussed the impact of the Trump administration on world affairs. The conversation ranged from the rise of alt-right nationalism to the U.S. electoral system. Panelists included Jack Donnelly, Ilene Grabel, Micheline Ishay, and Aaron Schneider. CMES Director Nader Hashemi served as moderator.

"The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith & Reason - A Book Talk with Christopher de Bellaigue"

May 1, 2017

We were pleased to host notable UK author, Christopher de Bellaigue, for a conversation on his latest book, "The Islamic Enlightenment: The Struggle Between Faith and Reason, 1798 - Modern Times". The discussant for the event was CMES Affiliate Faculty member and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies Andrea Stanton. 

"Saudi Arabia & the Challenges of the Arab Uprisings: Madawi Al-Rasheed"
April 5, 2017

On April 5, 2017, notable Saudi Arabia scholar Madawi Al-Rasheed gave a talk at the Center for Middle East Studies in the Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver.
Her talk focused on the lasting implications that the 2011 Arab Uprisings had on the Saudi government, the current state of internal Saudi politics, and their changing role in the region.

"The Arab World in the Era of Trump - A Conversation With Shafeeq Ghabra"

March 2, 2017

On March 2, 2017 the Center for Middle East Studies hosted Middle East scholar Shafeeq Ghabra for a stimulating conversation with our Director, Nader Hashemi. Their conversation touches on various issues plaguing the Middle East today, and how we might expect things to change under the new administration

"Resisting Trump: A Teach-In"
February 13, 2017

Panelists Marie Berry, Erica Chenoweth, George DeMartino, Alan Gilbert, Nader Hashemi discuss potential advocacy tactics to be used under the new Presidential administration.


For more information, check out the relevant resources and articles referenced in the event:

"Your Guide to the Sprawling New Anti-Trump Resistance Movement"
Joshua Holland, The Nation

 "The Madness of King Donald"
Andrew Sullivan, New York Mag

 "Autocracy: Rules for Survival" 
Masha Gessen, NYR Daily

 "Bernie Sanders: Where the Democrats Go From Here"
Bernie Sanders, New York Times

 "The Trump Election is Looking Very Bad Right? Brace Yourself, It Is Going to Get a Lot Worse"
Don Hazen, AlterNet

 "Trump's lies have a purpose. They are an assault on democracy"
Ned Resnikoff, ThinkProgress

 Blog: Rational Insurgent
Erica Chenoweth 

"The Election of 2016, Powerlessness and the Politics of Blame"
January 30, 2017

The Political Theory Initiative at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver hosted world-renowned philosopher, Martha Nussbaum, for a talk on the recent divisive election cycle and where we go from here.

"The Trump Administration & US Policy in the Middle East"
January 18,2017

A lecture hosted at the Josef Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver featuring Middle East scholar Marc Lynch. This talk was hosted by the Center for Middle East Studies and WorldDenver.

 2016 Events

"The Obliteration of Aleppo and the Fate of Syria"
October 18, 2016

A conversation between CMES Director Nader Hashemi and Associate Director Danny Postel on the Syrian catastrophe and what should be done about it.  


"Turkey after the Coup Attempt: Costly Domestic Consequences & International Challenges"
October 4, 2016

Henri Barkey, Director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, lectures on Turkey after the coup-attempt.

"Making Sense of Libya Today"
September 16, 2016

A conversation between former Libyan Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril and Ambassador Christopher Hill.

"Obama's Legacy in the Middle East - Lessons for the Next President"

September 13, 2016

A panel discussion with Ambassador Christopher Hill, Professor Erica Chenoweth, Professor Nader Hashemi, and Professor Tom Farer.


"US-Iran Relations after the Nuclear Deal—Contending Perspectives" 
Featuring Keynote Speaker Mohsen Milani
Panelists: Gregory Gause | Nader Hashemi | Christopher Hill 
May 2, 2016

The first panel in our day-long symposium dissecting the geopolitical impacts of the Iran nuclear agreement, watch the keynote speech from Professor Mohsen Milani, of the Center for Strategic & Diplomatic Studies at the University of South Florida.

"The Saudi-Iranian Rivalry & the Changing Geopolitics of the Middle East"
Keynote Speaker: Gregory Gause 
Panelists: Ambassador Gary Grappo | Mohsen Milani 
May 2, 2016

The second panel of our day-long symposium on the Iran nuclear agreement, Professor Greg Gause of Texas A&M University discusses the changing interests of Saudi Arabia. 

"Five Uncomfortable Facts about the Middle East" 
February 9, 2016

A lecture by CMES Distinguished Fellow, former Ambassador Gary Grappo.

"Understanding the Appeal of ISIS"
January 21, 2016

As part of our 2-day event "Extremism & Islamophobia in Perspective" we were thrilled to bring one of the world's leading scholars on terrorism to campus, Professor Mia Bloom from Georgia State University.


"Roger Cohen: Israel, the Middle East & the United States"
January 20, 2016

Famous NYTimes columnist Roger Cohen gave a wonderful lecture to a jam-packed audience at DU, followed by a discussion with J-Street president Jeremy Ben-Ami, our own Director Nader Hashemi and Distinguished Fellow Gary Grappo.

 For all of our older videos, please visit our YouTube Channel