Institute for Middle East Studies

Events Archive – Spring 2009

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April 20, 2009: IMES Special Event

Book Reading: My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness
*Co-sponsored by the GW Departments of History, English, and Judaic Studies


Adina Hoffman is the author of House of Windows: Portraits from a Jerusalem Neighborhood (Broadway Books). Her essays and criticism have appeared in the Nation, the Washington Post, the Times Literary Supplement, the Boston Globe, Raritan, and on the World Service of the BBC. Formerly a film critic for the American Prospect and the Jerusalem Post, she is one of the founders and editors of Ibis Editions, a small press that publishes the literature of the Levant. She lives in Jerusalem.

My Happiness Bears No Relation to Happiness is the biography of a remarkable man and, by extension, the story of a charged and fateful epoch. It also reflects on the ways in which history registers in daily life, and on the often alchemical means by which experience is transformed into art. Taha Muhammad Ali was born in 1931 in the Galilee village of Saffuriyya, and was forced to flee during the war in 1948. He travelled with his family on foot to Lebanon and returned a year later to find his village destroyed. An autodidact, he has run a souvenir shop in Nazareth ever since, at the same time evolving into a writer whom National Book Critics Circle-winner Eliot Weinberger has dubbed "perhaps the most accessible and delightful poet alive today."

Monday, April 20, 2009
Lindner Family Commons
Suite 602, 1957 E Street NW
3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.

IMES Spring Conference
Politics and Society in the Contemporary Gulf

11:00 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. - Migrant Communities in the Contemporary Gulf
Chair: Ilana Feldman, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Intl. Affairs, GW

Sri Lankan Experiences of Gulf Migration
Michele Ruth Gamburd, Portland State University

Occupational and National Stratification of the Foreign Populations in Bahrain
Sharon Nagy, DePaul University

Domestic Workers in Kuwait: Precarious Positionings
Attiya Ahmad, Duke University

12:30 p.m. - 1:30 p.m. - Lunch

1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Political Economy of the Contemporary Gulf
Chair: Marc Lynch, Associate Professor of Political Science and Intl. Affairs, GW

Islamic Finance and Islamist Mobilization
Kristin Smith Diwan, American University

Do parliaments discourage economic diversification in the Gulf?
Michael Herb, Georgia State University

Islamic Finance and the Global Financial Crisis
Scheherazade Rehman, George Washington University

3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m. - Political Islam in the Contemporary Gulf
Chair: Nathan Brown, Professor of Political Science and International Affairs, GW

The Muslim Brotherhood in Comparative Perspective -- from Egypt and Jordan to the Gulf
Marc Lynch, George Washington University

Wahhabism, Pan-Islamism and Global Jihadism
Thomas Hegghammer, Harvard University

The 'Madkhalis' vs. the 'Sahwa': Making Sense of the Salafi Debate on Politics in Saudi Arabia
Stephane Lacroix, Institut d'Etudes Politiques - Paris

11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Lindner Family Commons
Ste. 602, 1957 E Street NW

April 14, 2009: Middle East Policy Forum
The Annual Kuwait Chair Lecture
The Gulf: Searching for a New Balance

Ambassador Edward W. Gnehm Jr.
Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs

With the fall of Saddam Hussein and Iraq's emergence as a regional actor with new perspectives, the states of the Gulf are searching for a new balance of power and influence. Ambassador Gnehm will examine the issues and the factors impacting on current regional dynamics as well as the key actors themselves. He will also explore what this search for a new balance means for U.S. interests and President Obama's initiatives in the region.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Harry Harding Auditorium
Suite 213, 1957 E Street NW
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

The Middle East Policy Forum is presented with the generous support of ExxonMobi

April 13 2009: Regional Impact of the Global Economic Crisis on Africa & the Middle East

Sponsored by: the Institute for International Economic Policy and the Institute for Middle East Studies

David Hamod, President & CEO, National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce

Mohsin Khan, Senior Fellow, Peterson Institute

Steve Radelet, Senior Fellow, Center for Global Development

Antoinette Sayeh, Director, Africa Department, International Monetary Fund

This is the final event in a series of events on "Emerging Markets and the Global Economic Crisis." Other events included panels on Latin America, Central & Eastern Europe, and East & South Asia.

This is a brown bag event. Light refreshments will be served.

Monday, April 13 2009
12:00-2:00 p.m.
Lindner Family Commons
Suite 602, 1957 E Street NW

April 1, 2009: Middle East Policy Forum
Israel's Future in the Middle East: A Conversation

Each panelist will comment on internal debates among Israelis regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that are not directly evident outside of Israel. The speakers will also share their perspectives on the potential future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict over the next five years.


Dr. Menachem Klein is a Senior Lecture in the Department of Political Studies at Bar Ilan University in Israel. Dr. Klein served as an advisor for Jerusalem Affairs and Israel PLO Final Status Talks to the Minister of Foreign Affairs Prof. S. Ben-Ami. He was also a member of an advisory team operating in the office of Prime Minister Ehud Barak in 2000. Dr. Klein has been active in unofficial negotiations with Palestinian counterparts since 1996.

Dr. Shai Feldman is Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Politics at Brandeis University in Boston, MA. Dr. Feldman also serves on the council of International Institute for Strategic Studies in London and on the Board of Directors of Harvard University's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. He was the Head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University from 1997 to 2005 and was a member of the UN Secretary General's Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters from 2001 to 2003.

Moderator: Dr. Nathan Brown is Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies, Director of the Middle East Studies Program, and a Professor of Political Science and International Affairs at the Elliott School of International Affairs. Dr. Brown is an expert on government and politics of the Middle East, democratization and constitutionalism, and rule of law in the Arab World.

*The Middle East Policy Forum is presented with the generous support of ExxonMobil.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Lindner Family Commons
Suite 602, 1957 E Street NW
6:00 p.m. – 7:30pm

March 10, 2009: IMES Brownbag Lecture
The Islamic State: Myths and Realities

Guest Speaker:
Asma Asfaruddin, Associate Professor of Arabic and Islamic Studies, University of Notre Dame

Asma Afsaruddin specializes in the religious and political thought of Islam, Qur'an and hadith studies, Islamic intellectual history, and gender. She frequently consults with US governmental and private agencies on contemporary Islamic movements, inter-faith, and gender issues, and has lectured widely in the US, Europe, and the Middle East. She is the author of Excellence and Precedence: Medieval Islamic Discourse on Legitimate Leadership, among other books, and has written over fifty research articles, book chapters, and encyclopedia entries on various aspects of Islamic thought. Her most recent book, The First Muslims: History and Memory (OneWorld Publications 2007), explains the impact of the earliest converts on the development of Islamic doctrine, law and ethics, and examines their status as moral exemplars for succeeding generations. (For more information, visit

Tuesday, March 10, 2009
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Suite 505, 1957 E Street NW

March 4 2009: IMES Special Event
Looking into the Future of Islamic Law: Lessons from the Shari`a in Practice

Guest Speaker:
Frank Vogel, IMES Scholar-in-Residence

Using two examples where the shari`a is currently in practice — Islamic finance and the Saudi Arabian legal system — Vogel will examine ideas about how the shari`a is transforming under the pressure of its implementation, as well as discuss the possible future paths of shari`a both as law and as a foundation for constitutions and legal systems.

Frank Vogel is a noted scholar of Islamic law and finance, former director of the Islamic Legal Studies program at Harvard Law School, and the first IMES Scholar-in-Residence. Vogel is the author of Islamic Law and Legal System: Studies of Saudi Arabia and Islamic Law and Finance: Religion, Risk, and Return (with Samuel L. Hayes, III), in addition to numerous articles on the Saudi judiciary and religious establishment.

Wednesday, March 4 2009
6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Lindner Family Commons
Suite 602, 1957 E Street NW

March 5, 2009: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
Palestine and Israel: Time for Plan B

Date: Thursday, March 5, 2009, 8:30 - 10 a.m. Location: Carnegie Endowment for International Peace


Nathan Brown, Director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at George Washington University

Robert Malley, Middle East and North Africa Program Director at the International Crisis Group

Ghaith al-Omari, Advocacy Director at the American Task Force on Palestine.

Negotiations over a two-state solution to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have reached a dead end. In a new policy brief, Nathan J. Brown argues that international efforts should focus on a short-term cease-fire between Israel and Hamas that can pave the way for a sustainable armistice.

He will be joined by leading analysts Robert Malley and Ghaith al-Omari in discussing whether bitter realities on the ground make an immediate and comprehensive solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unattainable for now.

Copies of the brief will be available at the event. A light breakfast will be served.

February 24, 2009: IMES Brownbag Lecture
Irrational Exuberance in Iraq: Lessons not learned from the Election

Guest Speaker:
Judith Yaphe, IMES Faculty Associate and Distinguished Research Fellow, National Defense University

Judith Yaphe has served as distinguished research fellow to the National Defense University's Institute for National Strategic Studies since 1995, specializing in Iraq, Iran, Arabian/Persian Gulf security issues, and Political Islam/Islamic extremism. Before joining INSS, Dr. Yaphe served for 20 years as a senior analyst on Middle Eastern and Persian Gulf issues in the Office of Near Eastern and South Asian Analysis, Directorate of Intelligence, CIA. Dr. Yaphe is a recipient of the Intelligence Medal of Commendation for her service during the Gulf War.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
IMES Conference Room
Suite 512, 1957 E Street NW

Feb. 12, 2009: IMES Film Screening
THE OTHER THREAT: Arab/Muslim Immigrants in Europe

Thursday, Feb. 12, 2009
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Lindner Family Commons, Suite 602
1957 E St NW

Special Guest: Bassam Haddad, Film Director

A Q&A with the director will follow the film screening. Light refreshments will be served.

It is said that after September 11th, 2001, the world "changed." But not for Europeans. Most Europeans still consider immigration to be a greater threat than terrorism. In a most subtle yet candid manner, this documentary reveals the reality of Arab/Muslim immigration in two European countries afflicted with terrorism for decades: UK and Spain. The story is simple but powerful, weaving together history, culture, politics, propaganda, psychology, and racism, all within the context of capitalism and the demand for cheap labor. The result is an exhilarating and balanced presentation that serves as a record of the condition of Arab/Muslim immigration in Europe in the age of the "War on Terror."

About the director:
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East Studies Program at George Mason University and Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. He serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal, a peer-reviewed research publication, and is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, "About Baghdad", and director of a film series on "Arabs and Terrorism".

January 27, 2009: IMES Brownbag Lecture

The Politics of Victim and Witness in Iraq: the uprising of 1991 in three keys Guest speaker: Dina Khoury, Professor of History and International Affairs, GW

Tuesday, January 27
1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Suite 512 Conference Room
1957 E Street NW

January 18, 2009: Student Event Spotlight
Sultans of Satire: The Inaugural Comedy Tour

"The Sultans of Satire show, with American comedians of Iranian, Arab and Turkish descent, has captivated audiences since 2005. The comedians represent all the major religions and most of the Middle East and North Africa. The show uses humor and satire to convey a message of peace and unity among us all."

Sunday, January 18
7:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Betts Theater, Cloyd Heck Marvin Center
George Washington University
800 21st St NW

This event is produced by the Levantine Cultural Center and sponsored by GWU's Iranian Cultural Society.

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