Scholars examine the new Middle East political landscape, Iranian domestic politics, and international affairs.
Five years ago, in response to the shock and the challenge of the 9/11 attacks, the US government determined to go beyond punitive action and transform the Middle East into a bastion of stability rather than a perennial source of random crisis and disorder. Two complementary approaches to this transformation were under consideration at the time: (1) a restructuring of the regional balance, and (2) the democratization of regional regimes. While the term "New Middle East" had not yet been employed, the response to 9/11 was envisioned as a decisive and comprehensive solution that would integrate the Middle East into the emerging global system.
In principle, the goals of US policy in the Middle East remain unchanged, as the use of the "New Middle East" slogan affirms. But new questions have been raised regarding means and ends, costs and benefits, timetables, and perhaps most importantly, strategic approaches and sound intelligence. The need for answers to these questions has persuaded the UCLA Center for Near Eastern Studies to invite a series of experts to the campus this Fall to share their understanding of the direction in which these fast-moving events are headed and their views on how the US can best respond.
As part of the Center’s lecture series on “The New Middle East: Five Years After 9/11,” scholars assess topics such as:
Several of these presentations will subsequently be available as CNES podcasts on our website.
The Center’s annual Persian Lecture Series, in which specialists in Iranian history and culture make presentations in both Persian and English, features topics such as:
In addition, CNES and the Department of Ethnomusicology will present An Evening of Traditional Persian Music featuring both classical and original compositions performed by Bahram Osqueezadeh (santur), Sahba Motallebi (tar), and Faramarz AmiriRanjbar (tombak).
In November, the exhibition Tales of the Imagination: The Middle East in American Popular Culture opens in the Powell Library Rotunda. Curated by the Center for Near Eastern Studies in collaboration with the Special Collections Department of Young Research Library, the display highlights a cornucopia of books, magazines, and comics published in the United States which deal with Middle Eastern themes and issues spanning more than a century—from the Arabian Nights, pulp fiction, and adventure stories to the present conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Persian Gulf.
In the Spring, CNES celebrates its 50th anniversary with a lively combination of new, special, and recurring programs. The annual seminars on Islam and the Political Regime and Muslim Diasporas will continue to provide fresh perspectives on politics in the Middle East and Middle Easterners in Europe and North America. In May, the Center will present the prestigious Giorgio Levi Della Vida Award in Islamic Studies to Professor Wilferd Madelung of Oxford University at an international conference convened in his honor, featuring papers on the topic of Universality in Islamic Thought. In addition, the year’s activities will culminate with a golden jubilee celebration of the Center’s first 50 years.
For more information on these and other events, please visit our Calendar page.
Published: Tuesday, October 24, 2006
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