Institute for Middle East Studies

News Archive – 2011

IMES Faculty Associate Pardis Minuchehr was a participant in a conference in Berlin, Germany on 16 and 17 December. The conference was entitled "Cinema in Iran: Circulation, Censorship and Cultural Production." Professor Minuchehr gave Welcoming Remarks at the conference as well as Chaired the panel on Media makers and the Arts. The conference was sponsored by ICI Berlin: Kulturlabor Insititute for Cultural Inquiry.

IMES Faculty Associate Edward Gnehm participated in a panel at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace on December 19. The talk was entitled "Public Opinion on Iraq and the Arab Spring" and discussed the findings from the latest Zogby Polls. The event was co-sponsored by the Arab American Institute.

On December 12, 2011, IMES faculty associates Edward Gnehm, Nathan Brown, Marc Lynch and Judith Yaphe participated in a seminar in Kuwait City entitled "US Foreign Policy in a Changing Middle East." The seminar was co-sponsored by George Washington University, the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences, and the Kuwait Diplomatic Institute (KDI).
To see a selection of photos from the seminar, please visit the IMES Facebook page.

IMES Graduate student Jason Stern recently published a piece about Egyptian-Americans and their right to vote:
Foreign Policy, November 11, 2011: When Egyptian-Americans vote

IMES Graduate student Reza Akbari participated in a BBC World Service interview about the recent attack on the British Embassy in Tehran. IMES Faculty Associate Hossein Askari also participated in the interview which can be listened to here.

IMES Faculty Associate Nathan Brown recently published several pieces:
-Foreign Policy, November 8, 2011: Americans, Put Away Your Quills
-European Union Institute for Security Studes (ISS), November 18, 2011: Egyptian democracy and the Muslim Brotherhood
-National Interest, December 1, 2011: The Muslim Brotherhood's Democratic Dilemma
-Current History, December 2011: The Palestinians' Receding Dream of Statehood

On November 8, IMES Faculty Associates Jennifer Brinkerhoff and Liesl Riddle launched the first-ever survey of the Coptic Diaspora in the US, Canada, Australia, and the United Kingdom. The survey is conducted in conjunction with Coptic Orphans.
Given current events in Egypt, including between Muslims and Christians, and the evolving governance challenges, a better understanding of the Copt Diaspora's interest and inclination to engage on behalf of Egypt's development could meaningfully inform diaspora engagement and development policy for international policymakers, the Coptic Church, and, potentially, a new government of Egypt.
Preliminary findings will be presented at GWU to policymakers during the anniversary of the uprising in February 2012.

IMES Faculty Associate Edward Gnehm recently gave a 20 minute interview to Gulam Magazine in Kurdistan on current events in Syria.

IMES Faculty Associate Edward Gnehm recently appeared on a program called "The Stream" on Al Jazeera English where he discussed Kuwait's political uprising. To view the video, click here.
Ambassador Gnehm also recently published a Peace Brief on "Jordan and the Current Unrest in Syria" for the United States Institute of Peace. To read the brief, click here.

IMES Graduate student Reza Akbari recently published an op-ed on CNN about the possibility of dissolving the post of president in Iran. To read the co-authored piece, click here.

IMES Faculty Associate Kelly Pemberton recently wrote an article on gender, secularism and Islam in Turkey in the August 2011 issue of Near East Quarterly entitled "Reclaiming Muslim Space in 21st Century Turkey." Professor Pemberton also did an interview with Dan Merica on October 21 for the CNN belief blog. The title of the blog was "Gadhafi used 'renegade' Islamic view for 'purely political purposes'" and can be viewed here.

IMES Faculty Associate Nathan Brown participated in the following events:
October 6 - presentation at the Carnegie Endowment on "Post-Revolutionary Egypt: New Trends in Islam"
October 14 - presentation on Egypt to a conference at Boston College on "Secularism, Islam, and Democracy: Constitutional Tensions and Accomodations"
October 21 - participated in a workshop on authoritarian constitutions at the University of Chicago
October 28-29 - participated in a symposium on the Arab Spring and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict at the Heinrich Boell Foundation
Professor Brown also published an article:
Voenno-Promyshlennyi Kurier, October 26, 2011: "A Long Time Before Peace in the Holy Land"

IMES Faculty Associate Liesl Riddle co-edited a special issue of the Journal of World Business (Volume 46, Issue 4, October 2011) on business in the Middle East. She also co-authored the introductary article in the issue:
Kamel Mellahi, Mehmet Demirbag, Liesl Riddle, 2011. "Multinationals in the Middle East: Opportunities and Challenges," Journal of World Business, Vol 46, No. 4, pp. 406-411.
Professor Riddle also co-authored an additional article in another journal:
Liesl Riddle & Meghana Ayyagari. 2011. "Contemporary Cleopatras: The Business Ethics of Female Egyptian Managers." Education, Business and Society: Contemporary Middle Eastern Issues, Vol 4, No. 3, pp. 167-192. To read the abstract of the article, click here.

IMES Faculty Associate Robert Eisen has been appointed to serve on the Middle East Advisory Board of Search for Common Ground, a distinguished international organization based in Washington, DC that deals with conflict and conflict resolution throughout the world. It has offices in 15 countries and is very active in the Middle East.
Professor Eisen also appeared on the news show World Insight on China's English language channel to discuss the Palestinian bid for membership at the UN.

IMES Faculty Associate Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar published an article on November 3 on the Middle East Channel of entitled "How Iran Really Sees Turkey."

IMES Graduate student Reza Akbari has started a position with The Century Foundation as a research Associate within the InsideIran project. Reza also recently published a piece on the fraction among Iranian conservative parties on To read the article, click here.

IMES Graduate student Jessica Smelser(pictured below) received the Boren Fellowship for the 2011-2012 school year. She will be traveling to Egypt in January 2012 for an eight and a half month Arabic language program. Jessica will be studying at the Al Diwan Language Center in Nasr City.

IMES Graduate student Daniel Brunner was one of the first students to participate in the Aramex Fund this past summer. He studied in Irbid, Jordan at Yarmouk University. Daniel submitted the following information about his experience, as well as some photographs below:
"The Aramex Fund made possible a life-changing opportunity.  For three months, I imbibed Jordanian culture through intensive Arabic lessons, an internship at an NGO, and by frequent outings with locals.  The language and professional skills I learned over this past summer will help me in my required language proficiency exam and subsequent career search.  I am greatly indebted to Aramex for funding this program and for allowing me to be a part of its first year."

For more information about the Aramex Fund, please stop by the IMES office (1957 E St. NW, Suite 512 Washington, DC 20052), send an email (, or call (202. 994.9249)

IMES Graduate student Kaylan Geiger spent the summer of 2011 studying Arabic at Birzeit University in the West Bank. She was fortunate to be able to meet and interview the Prime Minister of the Palestinian Authority, Salam Fayyad, in the northern town of Al-Aqaba during a ceremony to reopen the village's main road after it had been demolished by the IDF in April (see photo below). Kaylan was also able to travel to Cairo in August for three weeks where she talked to people on the ground about recent events surrounding the revolution. She is currently writing an article that will hopefully be published in the World Affairs Journal in the coming weeks.

IMES Graduate student Jason Stern submitted the following photo and caption:

"On July 29th, over one hundred thousand Islamists flooded Tahrir Square in Cairo to assert their particular vision for Egypt's future. In this photo, Middle East Studies Program graduate students Reza Akbari '12 and Jason Stern '12 angle for a better view of the protests. The picture was taken by fellow MESP student Kaylan Geiger '12. All three students were in Cairo this summer to study the latest developments in Egypt's ongoing political transition."

IMES Faculty Associate Liesl Riddlewas quoted in an article entitled "The US: Mission to embrace the region is an uphill struggle" (Sept. 28, 2011) in the Financial Times. In the article she shared her thoughts on the Middle East Free Trade Initiative. To view the actual newspaper article, please click here.

IMES Faculty Associate Muriel Atkin published a chapter entitled "Tajikistan, from de facto colony to sovereign dependency," in Sovereignty after Empire: Comparing the Middle East and Central Asia, (Edinburgh University Press, 2011), pp. 304-325.

IMES Faculty Associate Melani McAlister appeared as part of a plenary panel on "The Historical Legacy of September 11" at the national conference of the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations (SHAFR). Also appearing on the panel were Dr. Andrew Bacevich, Dr. Marilyn Young and Dr. Mary Dudzlak, JD. The panel was filmed by C-SPAN and can be viewed by clicking here.

IMES Faculty Associate Hossein Askari co-authored a book entitled Risk Sharing in Finance: The Islamic Finance Alternative, (John Willey and Sons, December 2011). To view a list of endorsements of the book, please click here.

IMES Faculty Associate Nathan Brown has published the following articles since May 1:
-Carnegie Paper, October 2011: Post-Revolutionary Al-Azhar
-Carnegie Commentary, August 22, 2011: Can the Colossus Be Salvaged? Egypt's State-Owned press in a Post-Revolutionary Environment
-National Interest, August 9, 2011: What Does the U.S. Want to Talk to the Brotherhood About?
-Foreign Policy, August 9, 2011: Do Tunisians Agree on More Than They Realize?
-Foreign Policy, August 3, 2011: The Trial of the Century
-Carnegie Commentary, July 6, 2011: Palestine: The Fire Next Time?
-National Interest, June 23, 2011: Rawls Visits the Pyramids
-Foreign Policy, June 17, 2011: No Savior for Palestine
-Carnegie Commentary, June 15, 2011: Egypt's Revolution Stumbles Forward
-New York Times, June 9, 2011: Why Egyptians Want Mubarak Tried
-Foreign Policy, May 27, 2011: The Muslim Brotherhood as Helicopter Parent
-Foreign Policy, May 18, 2011: Hope and Change in the Middle East
Professor Brown has participated on several panels and in many working groups in the past months at Carnegie, IISS, the American Political Science Association, CSIS, and the Aspen Institute among others. He was a speaker at the Atlantic Council dinner on Egypt on September 19th. Additionally, he met with White House NSC staffers in July to talk about Egypt, briefed State Department officials in August on the Muslim Brotherhood, and lectured at Cornell Law School on Egyptian constitutional changes in September.

The first IMES Newsletter covers the 2010-2011 academic year, including exciting developments at the Institute and updates on faculty, students and events. To see what's been going on at IMES, click here.

IMES Graduate Collin Stevenson was selected to be the 2011 Student Commencement Speaker. To read more click here.

IMES Visiting Scholar Radwan Ziadeh authored a book titled Power and Policy in Syria: Intelligence Services, Foreign Relations and Democracy in the Modern Middle East. (December 2010).

IMES Faculty Associate Nathan Brown contributed to an article called "Pharaoh's End" (Jan. 28, 2011) on Foreign Policy that discussed the stability of the Mubarak regime. A day later he appeared on Al Jazeera Arabic to talk about the U.S. policy foreign policy implications of the Egyptian uprising (Jan. 29, 2011).

IMES Faculty Associate Mona Atia was interviewed by NPR about Egyptian American youth and their solidarity with protesters in Egypt. Listen here. (January 2011).

IMES Faculty Associate Hossein Askari authored four op-eds for the National Interest Online.: "Remember the Shah" (February 2, 2011), "Iran is Different" (February 18, 2011), "Time for Muslims to Reclaim Islam" (February 24, 2011), and "The Saudi Handout That Wasn't" (March 4, 2011).

IMES Faculty Associate Murhaf Jouejati appeared on the Military Channel in a documentary entitled "The October War: Battle for the Golan Heights" (January 2011).

IMES Faculty Associate Judith Yaphe published the chapter "Until They Leave: Liberation, Occupation, and Insurgency in Iraq," in Iraq Between Occupations: Perspectives from 1920 to the Present, (Palgrave, 2010). She also published "The Republic of Iraq," in Government and Politics of the Middle East (2011). Dr. Yaphe was quoted in Robert Windrem's article "Concerns Grow Over Egypt's WMD Research" in US News and World Report (February 7, 2011).

IMES Faculty Associate Muriel Atkin published the chapter "Central Asia and the Caucasus from the First World War" in New Cambridge History of Islam, vol. 5 (Cambridge University Press, 2010).

IMES Graduate student Krittika Lalwaney published an op-ed titled "Democracy in Egypt Could Change the Region" in the Cincinnati Enquirer (February 2011).



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