UO symposium examines outcomes of the Arab Spring

A trio of speakers will examine the Middle East’s political landscape in the wake of the Arab Spring movement during a symposium on the UO campus this week.

The free public event, “In the Aftermath of the Arab Spring: Persistent Challenges and Questions,” will run from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, May 29, in Room 101 of the Jaqua Academic Center.

The discussion will focus on issues that  remain after the Arab Spring as well as other concerns in the Middle East, North Africa and beyond. Topics will include the civil war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, popular challenges to other governments in the Middle East and North Africa and other questions facing the region.

“As an institution of higher learning, it is very important for the UO to help students become informed about world events and to think critically about them,” said Diane Baxter, a senior lecturer in anthropology and adjunct instructor in conflict and dispute resolution in the law school. “Students will hear from experts and will increase their understanding of this hot spot in the world, thus helping them to be engaged in a critical global issue.”

Speakers include Marc Lynch, director of the Institute for Middle East Studies and professor of political science at George Washington University; political science professor Nicole Watts, of San Francisco State University; and Karam Dana,  professor of Middle East politics at the University of Washington at Bothell.

Lynch will give a talk on “The Future of Syria,” Watts will discuss “Protest and Politics  in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq” and Dana discuss “Palestinian Public Opinion and U.S. Foreign Policy.”

“I think it is going to be a very interesting and engaging event. Not only are the speakers top experts in their fields but they are very charismatic speakers as well,” said Baxter.

An additional round-table discussion will be held on Friday, May 30, with speakers, faculty and graduate students whose work focuses on the Middle East. The symposium is sponsored by the Rutherford Middle East Initiative and the UO departments of political science, anthropology and geography.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, check the UO Office of International Affairs website.

 by Sarah MacKenzie, Public Affairs Communications intern