Institute for Middle East Studies

Events Archive - Spring 2014

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IMES Lecture Series
'Terrace of the Sea': The Mediations of Memory in a Palestinian Beach Camp in South Lebanon
Featuring Diana Allan

Terrace of the Sea was shot in 2008-9 in an unofficial Palestinian Bedouin gathering in south Lebanon. Structured around a collection of family photographs taken over three generations, this film examines the experiences of the Ibrahim family not simply or primarily through the prism of nationalist politics, but through their relationship to their work as fishermen and to the beach camp on which they are living. With the political dimension decentered other overlapping attachments become apparent – in particular the tension between a love of home and the land on which it is built, and the ties that continue to bind refugees to their country of origin. A meditation on the distances between memory, photography and film, Terrace of the Sea explores the relations between past and present, home and homeland, and between seeing and being seen.

Diana Allan is an anthropologist and filmmaker who received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2008, and is currently a fellow at the Society for the Humanities at Cornell, and a 2013 Guggenheim Fellow. She is the creator of two grassroots media collectives in Lebanon––the Nakba Archive and Lens on Lebanon––and her ethnographic films have been screened in international film festivals and as gallery installations. Her recent ethnography, Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile, published by Stanford University Press in November, explores the contingencies of nationalism and everyday survival in Shatila camp in Beirut.

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014
5:00 PM
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
1957 E St, NW, 6th Floor

The IMES Lecture Series is supported by the U.S. Department of Education's National Resource Center (NRC) grant program.

POMEPS Book Launch
Political Aid and Arab Activism: Democracy Promotion, Justice,Carapico and Representation
Featuring Dr. Sheila Carapico

Sheila Carapico is a professor of political science and international studies and coordinator of the international studies program at the University of Richmond. She is the author of Civil Society in Yemen: The Political Economy of activism in Modern Arabia (1998). She will discuss her recent release Political Aid and Arab Activism: Democracy Promotion, Justice, and Representation.

Wednesday April 15th, 2014
2:00 PM
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
1957 E St NW, 6th Floor

IMES 2014 Annual Conference
Reacting to Refugee Crises in the Middle East: Responses from States, Scholars, and Humanitarian Organizations

8:30 - 9:00
and Coffee

9:00 - 9:10
Welcoming Remarks
Marc Lynch, The George Washington University

9:10 – 9:45
Introductory Remarks: ‘Refugees and Crisis in the Middle East: Research Agendas and Frameworks,’
Julie Peteet, University of Louisville

9:45 – 11:15
Panel I: State Responses to Refugee Flows & Displaced Populations
Lamis Abdelaaty, University of California – Santa Cruz
Elizabeth Ferris, Brookings Institution
Rochelle Davis, Georgetown University

11:15 - 11:30
Coffee Break

11:30 – 1:00
Panel II: Humanitarian Organizations & Responses to Refugee Crises
Geraldine Chatelard, Institut Français du Proche-Orient
Margot Ellis, United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East
Hani Mowafi, Yale Medicine & Amnesty International
Adrienne Fricke, University of California – Davis, Human Rights Initiative

1:00 – 2:00

2:00 – 3:30
Panel III: Documenting the Experiences of Refugees and the Displaced
Zainab Saleh, Haverford College
Nell Gabiam, Iowa State University
Wendy Pearlman, Northwestern University

Thursday, April 10th, 2014
9:00 AM
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
1957 E St, NW, 6th Floor

The IMES Annual Conference is supported by the U.S. Department of Education's National Resource Center (NRC) grant program and the Project on Middle East Political Science.

IMES Co-Sponsored Event
The Kidron Valley/Wadi Nar Master Plan: Seeking Environmental Dignity through Collective Action
Featuring Dr. Avner Goren and Rana Khalaf

Avner Goren (The Abraham Path Initiative, Engineers without Borders) and Rana Khalaf (Afaq School for Special Education) will discuss their efforts to address this challenge through the Kidron Valley Master Plan and the subsequent Implementation Plan, which works with stakeholders to find solutions that transcend boundaries and political differences. The panelists will focus on their collaborative efforts to preserve and improve cultural landmarks, provide environmental education to local populations, and transform the Kidron Valley through improved planning, land usage, and infrastructure.

The Kidron Valley, which stretches from East Jerusalem through the Judean Desert to the Dead Sea, has been ravaged by years of unchecked development and neglect, creating an environmental disaster affecting residents on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian divide with major environmental, health and economic consequences.

Wednesday April 9th, 2014
6:30 PM
Phillips Hall, Room B156
801 22nd St NW

Sponsored by the Capitol Archaeological Institute and the Institute for Middle East Studies.

IMES Co-Sponsored Event
Sayed Kashua: Seriously Satirical
Featuring Sayed Kashua

Sayed Kashua is a talented and ambitious writer with a top-rated television sitcom, a satirical column in Israel’s oldest newspaper Haaretz, and multiple award-winning novels to his credit. But as an Arab citizen of Israel, Kashua is persistently called upon to justify his work, specifically his decision to address Jewish audiences by writing in Hebrew.

Please join us for a discussion with Kashua, who will screen a recent episode of his popular series Arab Labor (Avoda Aravit), now in its third season. Following the screening Kashua will discuss his life and work in an audience Q&A. 

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014
6:00 PM
Lindner Family Commons, Room 113
1957 E St, NW, 1st Floor

Sponsored by the Hebrew Department and the Institute for Middle East Studies

IMES Lecture Series
Delimiting Sinai and Constructing Aswan: Naturalizing Egypt's Frontiers
Featuring Nancy Reynolds

Perhaps more than other nation state, Egypt has been defined, since antiquity, from its geographical center—the strip of cultivatable land along the Nile River. Scholarship has followed this practice, focusing on urban and rural centers along the river. However, Egypt’s legal frontiers lie far from this arable strip in surrounding deserts. Egyptian, Ottoman, and colonial surveyors worked hard to define, out of “the very broken nature of the country,” boundaries that were “fair and just…[fulfilling] the conditions of an approximately straight line; [that] is likewise geographical and natural..and… strategical.” Claims of ownership over tribes, wells, trees, watersheds, mountain passes, historical sites, and geomorphic landforms rested on novel understandings of ecology, geology, geography, and nature. Two moments of delimitation offer comparative cases for understanding the role and recruitment of “nature” in establishing the “frontier” of Egyptian territory: the work of the Sinai Boundary Commission in 1906 and the survey teams established during the building of the Aswan High Dam in the 1960s.

Nancy Y. Reynolds is associate professor of History, with affiliated appointments in Jewish, Islamic, and Near Eastern Languages and Cultures, and Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research concentrates on the cultural and social history of twentieth-century Egypt. Her first book, A City Consumed: Urban Commerce, the Cairo Fire, and the Politics of Decolonization in Egypt, was published in 2012 by Stanford University Press and received 2013 Roger Owen Book Award from the Middle East Studies Association. Her work on Egyptian department stores and textiles has appeared in the International Journal of Middle East StudiesJournal of Women’s HistoryEuropean Review of History, and Arab Studies Journal. A chapter on the rockscapes of the High Dam appeared in Water on Sand: Environmental Histories of the Middle East and North Africa (Alan Mikhail, ed.; 2013). She is currently writing a new book, titled A New Pyramid: How the Aswan High Dam Built Postcolonial Egypt.

Monday, April 7th, 2014
5:00 PM
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602
1957 E St, NW, 6th Floor

The IMES Lecture Series is supported by the U.S. Department of Education's National Resource Center (NRC) grant program.

IMES Lecture Series
Baghdad Central: Occupation Noir
Featuring Elliott Colla

Please join us to hear fiction author and Georgetown Professor of Arabic Literature Elliott Colla discuss his latest book, Baghdad Central, with George Washington University History Professor Dina Khouri.

Baghdad, November 2003. The US occupation is not yet a disaster but the CPA has disbanded the Iraqi army and decimated the police in its policy of de-Ba'athification of Iraqi society. Inspector Muhsin al-Khafaji is a mid-level Iraqi cop who deserted his post back in April. Khafaji has lived long enough in pre- and post-Saddam Iraq to know that clinging on to anything but poetry and his daughter, Mrouj, is asking for trouble. Nabbed by the Americans and imprisoned in Abu Ghraib, Khafaji is offered only one way out – he has to work for the CPA to rebuild the Iraqi Police Services. But it's only after US forces take Mrouj that he figures out a way to make his collaboration palatable, and even rewarding. Soon, he is investigating the disappearance of young translators working for the US Army.

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014
5:00 PM
Room 505
1957 E St, NW, 5th Floor

The IMES Lecture Series is supported by the U.S. Department of Education's National Resource Center (NRC) grant program.

MEPF Lecture
The Second Arab Awakening & the Battle for Pluralism
With Marwan Muasher

Marwan Muasher will discuss his new book, The Second Arab Awakening & the Battle for Pluralism, which focuses on political change in the Arab world, beginning with the first “Awakening” in the nineteenth century and extending into future decades when—if the dream is realized—a new Arab world defined by pluralism and tolerance will emerge. Muasher places the Arab Spring in a historical context, arguing that the US, Europe, Israel, and Arab governments alike were all deeply misguided in their thinking about Arab politics and society when the turmoil of the Arab Spring first erupted.

Mr. Muasher is the former Foreign Minister of Jordan, and is currently vice president for studies at Carnegie, where he oversees research in Washington and Beirut on the Middle East. Beginning as a journalist for the Jordan Times and later serving as the first Jordanian ambassador to the state of Israel, Mr. Muasher’s career has spanned the areas of diplomacy, development, civil society, and communications.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014
6:00 PM
Lindner Family Commons, Room 602, 1957 E Street, NW


IMES Cosponsored Event
A Window into Women of the Arab Spring: Progress or Reversals?
With the School of Media and Public Affairs

As part of Women's History Month, GW's Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication and the Institute for Middle East Studies will host a panel discussion to examine the complex question of how women have fared since the promising beginning of the Arab Spring three years ago.

With a focus on Egypt and how the political situation affects women and girls across the Middle East and North Africa, the discussion will also touch on development, education, human rights, constitutional changes, and inclusiveness.


Tara Sonenshine, fellow at GW's School of Media and Public Affairs; former U.S. Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs. 


  • Hebah Abdalla, Al-Jazeera English
  • Sahar Atrache, International Crisis Group
  • Isobel Coleman, senior fellow, Council on Foreign Relations
  • Thomas Gorguissian, editor, Al-Ahram
  • Gini Reticker, filmmaker, "Awakening" (Fork Films)


Sean Aday, Aassociate Professor of Media & Director of the Institute for Public Diplomacy and Global Communication

Marc Lynch, Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014
9:00 AM
Room B07
School of Media and Public Affairs, 805 21st St, NW

MEPF Lecture
Palestine: Childhood Denied
With Suleiman Mleahat

ANERA Education Program Manager Sulieman Mleahat talks about the challenges to early childhood development for Palestinian children and strategies for improvement in the areas of teacher training, curriculum development, school infrastructure, literacy, parenting, and health & nutrition.

Mr. Mleahat has been ANERA’s education program manager since 2010. He has worked 20 years in the international development sector, 15 of which have been spent in the international education field. Mr. Mleahat has a master’s degree from the University of Bristol in international development, with a focus on in Early Childhood Development (ECD) and Quality Basic Education. He has a highly successful track record in planning, funding, managing and reviewing a multitude of basic education, ECD and humanitarian development projects in the Middle East and East Africa.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014
12:30 PM
Room 505, 1957 E Street, NW


IMES Lecture Series
The Security Archipelago: Human-Security States, Race/Sexuality Politics, and Social Militarization in Contemporary Egypt and Brazil
A Conversation with Dr. Paul AmarSecurity Archipelago

Paul Amar, Associate Professor in the Global & International Studies Program at the University of California, Santa Barbara, has served as a journalist in the Middle East police-reformer in Brazil, and conflict-and-development specialist at the United Nations.


Professor Amar's research, publishing and teaching focus on the areas of state institutions, security regimes, social movements, and democratic transitions in the Middle East and Latin America, and trace the origins and intersections of new patterns of police militarization, security governance, race/sexuality politics, humanitarian intervention, and state restructuring in the megacities of the global south.

Thursday March 20th, 2014
Lindner Commons
1957 E St., NW, 6th floor
RSVP here

IMES Lecture Series
Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East
A Conversation with Dr. Elizabeth Thompson

ElizabJustice Interruptedeth F. Thompson is associate professor of history at the University of Virginia. Her new book, Justice Interrupted: The Struggle for Constitutional Government in the Middle East, traces the roots of the 2011 Arab Spring to the first constitutional movements of the late 19th century. Her first book, Colonial Citizens: Republican Rights, Paternal Privilege and Gender in French Syria and Lebanon, won prizes from the American Historical Association and the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians. Prof. Thompson has also won awards from the Carnegie Corporation of New York, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Social Science Research Council, the U.S. Institute of Peace, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Library of Congress.

POMEPS Lecture
Between Salafists, Secularists, and Security Forces: The Politics of Tunisian Youth in the Age of Ennahda — With Monica Marks and Dr. William Lawrence

Join POMEPS for a discussion of political Islam, youth politics, and the Tunisian constitution featuring Monica Marks with comments by William Lawrence.

Monica Marks is a leading expert on contemporary Tunisian politics. Her work, which focuses primarily on Islamism, youth politics, and security reform in Tunisia, has appeared in Foreign Policy, The New York Times, and the Huffington Post. She is the author of the newly released Brookings report on Tunisia entitled “Convince, Coerce, or Compromise? Ennahda’s Approach to Tunisia’s Constitution.” As lead Tunisia researcher for the Barcelona-based Institute for Integrated Transitions (IFIT), Marks authored “Inside the Transition Bubble,” a report analyzing international technical assistance flows for Tunisia’s transition. Marks is a Tunisia-based Rhodes Scholar and doctoral candidate at St. Antony’s College, Oxford University. Her doctoral dissertation examines internal transition in Tunisia’s Ennahda, focusing on ideological and organizational transformations since the 2011 revolution. She is a recipient of a POMEPS Travel–Research–Engagement grant to support field research on forging pluralism and internal dispute and ideological restructuring in Tunisia’s Ennahda Party.

William Lawrence is a visiting professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and a senior fellow at the Project on Middle East Democracy.

*Light refreshments will be available*

Monday, March 17th, 2014
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Lindner Family Commons Room 602
1957 E St, NW, 6th floor

This event is sponsored by the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS).

RSVP here

Tuesday March 18th, 2014
Lindner Commons
1957 E St., NW, 6th floor
RSVP here

MEPF Cosponsored Event
With Farah Ammouri, Nadia Tadros, Revital Zacharie, and Lisa Truitt

Using the world’s most advanced 3D and IMAX film technology, JERUSALEM brings to audiences spectacular, never-before-seen footage of this much-loved 5,000-year-old city. The film tells the complicated and fascinating story of Jerusalem through the viewpoints of the city's three main religions—Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Each is represented by a young woman who shows us “her” Jerusalem. The archaeology of Jerusalem is also explored in the film to understand its importance in world history.

In this program, join the young women from the film—Farah Ammouri, Nadia Tadros and Revital Zacharie—for a discussion about the making of the film and its themes. Introduction by Lisa Truitt, president of National Geographic Cinema Ventures.

Tuesday March 4th, 2014
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Harry Harding Auditorium Room 213
1957 E St, NW, 2nd Floor

RSVP here.

MEPF Kuwait Chair Lecture
The Middle East: Finding a Way Forward
With Ambassador Edward "Skip" Gnehm

2014 seems a long way from 2011 and the popular uprisings that toppled governments. What happened to the aspirations and expectations of those heady days? Amb. Gnehm will look at three countries – Tunisia, Egypt and Iraq – the factors behind the course of events, and their ongoing efforts to find a way forward.

Thursday February 27th, 2014
6:30 PM - 7:45 PM
Harry Harding Auditorium Room 213
1957 E St, NW, 2nd Floor

RSVP here.

IMES Cosponsored Event

China in the Middle East: An Expanding Footprint
With Dr. Pan Guang

While the U.S. has been the dominant influence in the Middle East for the last 60 years, China's role has been more muted and less visible. Now China's rise as a commercial power and its rapidly growing demand for oil and gas resources have led China to forge new ties with the Middle East and to aggressively expand its influence. Confronted with the changes brought about by the Arab Spring, an Iran bent on nuclear weapons, a resurgent Turkey and a stalled peace process in Israel, how will a Chinese strategy for a stable energy supply affect events, including the threat of international terrorism? How will the presence of China, a rising and newly assertive power, affect commercial and diplomatic ties in the region?

Dr. Pan Guang is Professor and Academic Director of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, a leading foreign policy think tank in China. Dr. Pan is a Senior Advisor on Anti-terror Affairs to the Shanghai Municipality and the Ministry of Public Security of the People's Republic of China. He has authored a number of books and articles including "China's Success in the Middle East," and "China's Energy Strategy."

Friday, February 14, 2014
12:30 PM - 1:45 PM 
Lindner Commons, 1957 E Street, NW, Room 602

RSVP here

Co-sponsored by the Sigur Center for Asian Studies and the Institute for Middle East Studies

POMEPS Book Launch
The Muslim Brotherhood: Evolution of an Islamist Movement — A Conversation with Carrie Rosefsky Wickham

Carrie Rosefsky Wickham is associate professor of political science at Emory University. Wickham’s current research focuses on the origins of political opposition in authoritarian settings, focusing on the rise of Islamic activism in Egypt and other Arab states. She is the author of Mobilizing Islam: Religion, Activism, and Political Change in Egypt. She will discuss her recent release The Muslim Brotherhood: Evolution of an Islamist Movement.

The Muslim Brotherhood

Monday, February 10
12:00pm - 2:00pm
Lindner Family Commons Room 602
1957 E St, NW, 6th floor

This event is sponsored by the Project on Middle East Political Science (POMEPS).


RSVP here



POMEPS Panel Event

Rethinking Islamist Politics
A Panel Discussion

Join POMEPS on January 23, 2014 to analyze the state of Islamist politics in the Middle East. The panel will examine the current directions of the Muslim Brotherhood and electoral politics, Salafism, and jihadist movements, as well as trends in the broader Islamic context.


Thomas Hegghammer –  Norwegian Defense Research Establishment

Bruce Lawrence – Duke University

Tarek Masoud – Harvard University

Moderated by:

Marc Lynch – George Washington University

*A light lunch will be provided*


Thursday January 23, 2014
Lindner Commons
1957 E St., NW, 6th floor
RSVP here

IMES Lecture Series

Impossible Citizens: Dubai’s Indian Diaspora
A Conversation with Dr. Neha Vora

Although the legal status of foreign residents in the UAE defines them as outsiders, Dr. Vora argues that Indians in Dubai are integral to the building and maintenance of Emirati state institutions, to national identity and citizenship, and to the functioning of Dubai’s liberalized and globalized market forms. While many Indians disavow belonging to Dubai they stake certain historical, cultural, and geographic claims to the city. Impossible Citizens examines the conflicting and multiple narratives and practices of belonging and citizenship experienced by Dubai’s Indian population, exploring the multiple logics of citizenship and governance that circulate within Dubai among its various residents, institutions, and spaces.

Dr. Neha Vora is Assistant Professor of anthropology at Lafayette College in Easton, PA. Her research focuses on forms of citizenship, belonging, and exclusion within the contemporary Gulf Arab States. In particular, she explores how economic, political, and social changes in the United Arab Emirates and Qatar shape the daily experiences of the region’s diverse residents, particularly South Asian migrants, who comprise the majority of the population in both countries.

Thursday January 16, 2014
Lindner Commons
1957 E St., NW, 6th floor
RSVP here

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Phone: 202.994.9249
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Institute for Middle East Studies
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