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  • Author: Anand Menon
  • Publication Date: 01-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: UK in a Changing Europe, King's College London
  • Abstract: Professor Anand Menon explains the need for social science to play a role in informing public and political debates is as great if not greater than ever, now that the UK is embarking on a new course after Brexit.
  • Topic: European Union, Brexit, Trade
  • Political Geography: United Kingdom, Europe
  • Author: Moussa Sall, Intissar Fakir, Hajar Khamlichi, Thowaba Ben Slema, Houssem Hamdi
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Across the MENA region, civil society plays a key role in putting climate on the agenda for governments and the private sector. How are activists and advocates in North Africa building momentum in their communities and globally to address climate change? How can social media, film, and art bridge gaps and create a global demand for greater sustainability? Intissar Fakir will be joined in conversation with leading figures in the fight for climate action in North Africa.
  • Topic: Civil Society, Climate Change, Arts, Social Media, Film, Sustainability
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Vanessa Badre, Lyne Sneige, Kate Seelye, Denis Quenelle, Nagham Hodaifa, Bady Dalloul
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East Institute's Arts and Culture Center and The Cultural Services of the French Embassy are pleased to host a conversation with leading Syrian contemporary artists, Bady Dalloul and Nagham Hodaifa. The Paris-based artists will reflect on the past decade of conflict and trauma, its impact and influence on their work and their relationship to their homeland. They will be joined by Lyne Sneige, the Director of the Arts & Culture Center at the Middle East Institute. Dalloul grew up in France, the son of prominent Syrian artists. His work confronts the notion of what is real and imagined while challenging the process of writing history. Hodaifa, who left Syria in 2005 to pursue her studies, explores the human condition through the representation of the body. Both artists are in the current MEI Art Gallery exhibit In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, featuring leading contemporary Syrian artists chronicling the hope, trauma, and pain of the past decade through their practice. The artists will be in conversation with Vanessa Badré, art historian, lawyer, and faculty fellow at American University.
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Conflict, Trauma, Syrian War, Memory
  • Political Geography: Europe, Middle East, France, Syria
  • Author: Silvia Crescimbeni, Vahakn Kabakian, Jessica Obeid
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Amid converging political, economic, and humanitarian crises, Lebanon has recently doubled down on its climate ambition for the next ten years. In its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) submission to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the country has revised both its GHG emission reduction targets and renewable-energy-sourced power generation targets upwards. Does climate change bear national security implications for Lebanon today? How can climate-proofed infrastructure projects and low-carbon technologies attract investments, create jobs and support Lebanon’s economic revival post-collapse? How will immediate policy choices and renewable energy integration ensure economic growth and shape the future of critical sectors such as energy, water, food, and transportation? What is the role of climate diplomacy and partnerships in achieving Lebanon's climate ambitions? How can Lebanon ensure that its climate policy does not fall through the cracks?
  • Topic: Climate Change, Economics, National Security, Politics, United Nations
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Gonul Tol, Philip Breedlove, Iulia Joja, Yoruk Isik, Mamuka Tsereteli
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Russia’s largest military buildup since the 2014 annexation of Crimea is taking place along the Ukrainian border and in the Black Sea. Moscow has resorted to escalatory measures, announcing the closing of the Kerch Strait and the Azov Sea to foreign ships and cutting off Ukraine’s ability to export. In response, the West has reacted with warnings and invitations to dialogue while Turkey is trying to walk a fine line between Russia and Ukraine. To prevent further escalation of the crisis, much will depend on the Biden administration’s response. What are possible conflict scenarios of Russia towards Ukraine and the Black Sea? What options does the West have in deterring Russian aggression in the region? In what ways is this significant to the long-term US regional strategy? How is Russian military buildup significant not only for Ukraine, but also for the broader stability of the Black Sea region?
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Territorial Disputes, Military Affairs, Navy
  • Political Geography: Russia, Ukraine, Crimea, Black Sea
  • Author: Charles Lister, Vera Mironova, Eric Oehlerich, Mick Mulroy, Sara Kayyali
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Two years after the territorial defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, tens of thousands of fighters and associated civilians remain in various forms of detention, with little sign of any meaningful solution to their status. Until now, few Western governments have proven willing to repatriate their citizens, choosing instead to leave them in the region, where security is weak and humanitarian conditions are dire. Multilateral efforts to determine the prospects for localized judicial mechanisms have failed, leaving behind an unsustainable crisis that threatens long-term security. The Middle East Institute (MEI) is pleased to host a panel of experts in this timely and important discussion.
  • Topic: Security, Human Rights, Prisons/Penal Systems, Citizenship, Islamic State, Foreign Fighters
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Lyne Sneige, Lara Haddad, Maymanah Farhat, Kevork Mourad
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Marking the launch of the MEI Art Gallery exhibit, In This Moonless Black Night: Syrian Art After the Uprising, MEI is pleased to host a conversation exploring how Syrian artists in exile have addressed the hope, trauma and displacement of the past decade through their art. Among the 14 participating artists, US-based artists Lara Haddad, Essma Imady and Kevork Mourad, as well as curator and writer Maymanah Farhat, will reflect on their artistic practice and the personal experiences that influenced their work over the past 10 years. They'll also examine how the exhibit's diverse imagery and media helps shape our understanding of the magnitude and complexity of the past decade with beauty, grace and humanity. Lyne Sneige, director of MEI's Arts and Culture Center, will moderate the discussion followed by Q&A .
  • Topic: Arts, Culture, Media, Syrian War, Memory
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Christophe Abi-Nassif, Haneen Sayed, Alain Bifani, Nasser Saidi
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Lebanon’s financial and socio-economic crises have been unfolding for nearly 18 months. The Lebanese pound is hitting all-time lows against the US dollar. Food prices have soared more than 400% in just one year. In the meantime, foreign currency reserves at the central bank are dangerously depleting. Citizens have lost access to their life savings and more than half now live below the poverty line. The country’s entire financial system is in dire need of restructuring. Amid the worsening financial collapse and growing civil anger, unrest and poverty, an end to the meltdown is yet to be seen. Where does Lebanon stand today, a year after the first sovereign debt default in its history? How did we even get here? What are immediate monetary and fiscal policy priorities to course-correct? What social policies and programs are needed in the immediate term? What can still be saved? Four Lebanese experts with frontline experience will tackle these issues and shed more light on Lebanon’s uncertain financial, economic, and social future as part of the Middle East Institute’s (MEI) Lebanon program’s events series.
  • Topic: Debt, Finance, Economy, Crisis Management
  • Political Geography: Middle East, Lebanon
  • Author: Michael Knights, Hanin Ghaddar, Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Charles Lister
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Iran’s influence throughout the Middle East has grown dramatically in the past decade, in large part due to its expanding regional network of militias and their assertion of influence in unstable environments. Through the IRGC’s Quds Force and Iranian allies such as Lebanese Hezbollah, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) in Iraq, and the Houthis in Yemen, Iran’s pursuit of regional hegemony through the removal of Western influence threatens stability. What are the main challenges and threats posed by Iran’s regional network? How best should they be dealt with? Can diplomacy remove the incentive for Iranian proxy aggression? How must the United States and the wider international community respond to Iran’s direct and proxy involvement in conflicts across the Middle East?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Geopolitics, Transnational Actors, Proxy War
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Iran, Middle East, Yemen, Lebanon
  • Author: Jacki Lyden, Yasmine El Rashid, Kate Seelye
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East Institute's Arts and Culture Center and the Alan Cheuse International Writers Center at George Mason University are pleased to host the second talk in a writers' series marking the 10th anniversary of the Arab uprisings. Launched this past December, Ten Years After The Arab Spring, features the voices of award-winning writers reflecting on the past decade through the lens of their writings and personal experiences. The second book talk in our series features award-winning Egyptian writer Yasmine El Rashidi discussing her debut novel, Chronicle of a Last Summer. Through a young Egyptian woman’s recount of her personal and political coming of age, El Rashidi traces the fine line between survival and complicity, exploring the conscience of a generation raised in fear and silence. Yasmine El Rashidi is in conversation with American author and award-winning journalist Jacki Lyden.
  • Topic: History, Arab Spring, Protests, Memory, Revolution
  • Political Geography: Middle East
  • Author: Ruba Husari, Samantha Gross, Gerald Feierstein, Jean-Francois Seznec
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: One of President Biden's most ambitious campaign promises is centered around American energy policy. Biden has vowed to shift away from a traditional focus in oil toward investments in renewable energy sources. Meanwhile, the oil industry in the Middle East is already facing severe repercussions from the coronavirus pandemic. States like Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Lebanon are struggling to replace oil revenue, cutting social benefits and worsening social unrest in the process. Oil has been the economic backbone on which the U.S. and nations in the Middle East have built diplomatic relationships and maintained mutual security interests. How will these crucial bonds be affected by a greener Biden presidency?
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Energy Policy, Oil, Pandemic, Joe Biden
  • Political Geography: Iraq, Middle East, Saudi Arabia, United States of America
  • Author: Edmund Fitton-Brown, Ken Dilanian, Nadwa Al-Dawsari, Jane Marriott, Aimen Dean
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were a dramatic wake up call to the United States and the wider world as to the threats posed by violent jihad. However, more than 20 years later, the challenges remain and efforts to combat the likes of al-Qaeda and ISIS have led to even greater levels of conflict and terrorism itself. With a view to hindsight and an eye focused forwards, this panel will seek to assess the lessons learned from the war on terror since 2001 from a range of international perspectives and to present alternative approaches to dealing with the challenges that prevail today.
  • Topic: Terrorism, History, Counter-terrorism, 9/11
  • Political Geography: Middle East, United States of America
  • Author: Motaz Zahran, Joey Hood, Paul Salem, Gerald Feierstein, Mirette F. Mabrouk
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: The Middle East has become a kaleidoscope of evolving relationships and developments. Following almost a decade of near chaos, Libya has just elected an interim government, paving the way for a new transition. Despite several new normalization treaties with Arab states, Israel remains deadlocked in perhaps the most urgent of its relationships with Arab states; that with Palestine. A decade of stressful and largely fruitless negotiations between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan over the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam is threatening to become even more complicated by Ethiopia’s internal conflicts and the possibility of a civil war spilling over its borders, threatening a fragile transition in Sudan and possibility of stability in the Horn of Africa. Amid all these developments, relationships and alliances are being reformed and reevaluated. Where does Egypt stand on all of these issues? MEI held a private, on the record roundtable discussion with the Ambassador of Egypt to the United States Motaz Zahran and Acting Assistant Secretary of State Joey Hood. MEI President Paul Salem gave an introduction and Senior Vice President Amb Gerald Feierstein and Egypt Programme Director Mirette F Mabrouk moderated the discussion.
  • Topic: International Relations, Government, Regional Cooperation, Transition
  • Political Geography: Libya, North Africa, North America, Egypt, United States of America
  • Author: Rashida Tlaib, Rashid Khalidi, Umar Al-Ghubari, Mohammed El-Kurd, Lubnah Shomali
  • Publication Date: 05-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: Please join a Middle East Institute and Project48 panel featuring Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, Rashid Khalidi and others exploring why the Nakba still matters. Every year on May 15th, millions of Palestinians around the world commemorate the Nakba, or the catastrophe that befell them in 1948. This catastrophe resulted in the dispossession of an estimated 750,000 refugees from historic Palestine, and the uprooting of two-thirds of the Palestinian Arab population and their society in the process of the creation of the State of Israel. 73 years later, the Nakba remains central to Palestinian national identity and political aspirations, as evidenced by the 2018-19 Gaza March of Return and even the recent protests in Jerusalem. However, despite being a core Palestinian grievance, the Nakba continues to be whitewashed or denied outright by pundits, lobbyists, and even policymakers. The Middle East Institute and Project48 are pleased to host an esteemed group of experts to shed light on what transpired in 1948 and why the events of the Nakba still resonate today and remain central to understanding Israel and Palestine. This event is co-sponsored by the Foundation for Middle East Peace, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and the Institute for Palestine Studies.
  • Topic: History, Conflict, Nakba, Palestine
  • Political Geography: Palestine
  • Author: Joey Hood, Elise Labott
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Middle East Institute (MEI)
  • Abstract: At the end of Joe Biden’s first 100 days as President of the United States, The Middle East Institute is pleased to host a special event to assess progress on key priorities and set new policy goals in response to newly emerged challenges. With political turmoil in Jordan, upcoming Palestinian elections, and an opportunity to rebalance engagement with Iran and Gulf partners, many questions remain as to the key priorities for the Biden administration’s agenda. Last month, MEI released The Biden Administration and the Middle East: Policy Recommendations for a Sustainable Way Forward on key geopolitical and strategic areas in the MENA region. This event, which will be opened with a keynote conversation with Acting Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs Joey Hood, will convene key authors of the briefing book in a series of panels to reflect on the recommendations and explore opportunities to change course.
  • Topic: International Relations, Diplomacy, American Presidency
  • Political Geography: Middle East, North Africa
  • Author: Sienna Craig
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: For centuries, people from Mustang, Nepal, have relied on agriculture, pastoralism, and trade as a way of life. Seasonal migrations to South Asian cities for trade as well as temporary wage labo abroad and Mustang-based tourism have shaped their experiences for decades. Yet, more recently, permanent migrations to New York City are reshaping lives and social worlds. Drawing on more than two decades of fieldwork and friendship with people in and from Mustang, The Ends of Kinship: Connecting Himalayan Lives between Nepal and New York, the book on which this presentation is based, combines narrative ethnography and short fiction to explore how individuals, families, and communities care for each other and carve out spaces of belonging in and through diaspora, at the nexus of environmental, economic, and cultural change. This presentation will also discuss how COVID-19 has impacted the lives of Himalayan and Tibetan New Yorkers, and how regional cultural practices and Tibetan Buddhist philosophies are shaping responses to this pandemic. This event was organized by the Modern Tibetan Studies Program and cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University.
  • Topic: Agriculture, Environment, Diaspora, Ethnography, COVID-19
  • Political Geography: New York, Asia, Nepal, Tibet
  • Author: Thongchai Winichakul, Duncan McCargo, Tyrell Haberkorn, Prajak Kongkirati, Aim Sinpeng, Saowanee Alexander, Kanokrat Lertchoosakul
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Since the emergence of mass student-led rallies in mid-July 2019, political protest has once again become a major focus of interest in Thailand. This year’s Thailand Update (the sixth so far) links discussions of previous rounds of protest – notably the 6 October 1976 events, the subject of a major new 2020 book by Thongchai Winichakul – to ask searching questions about these recent demonstrations.
  • Topic: Politics, History, Domestic politics, Protests, Political Movements
  • Political Geography: Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Duncan McCargo, Saowanee Alexander, Aim Sinpeng, Kanokrat Lertchoosakul
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: Since the emergence of mass student-led rallies in mid-July 2019, political protest has once again become a major focus of interest in Thailand. This year’s Thailand Update (the sixth so far) links discussions of previous rounds of protest – notably the 6 October 1976 events, the subject of a major new 2020 book by Thongchai Winichakul – to ask searching questions about these recent demonstrations.
  • Topic: History, Protests, Political Movements, Demonstrations
  • Political Geography: Thailand, Southeast Asia
  • Author: Luke Patey, Elizabeth Wishnick
  • Publication Date: 03-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: From its Belt and Road Initiative linking Asia and Europe, to its "Made in China 2025" strategy to dominate high-tech industries, to its significant economic reach into Africa and Latin America, China is rapidly expanding its influence around the globe. Many fear that China's economic clout, tech innovations, and military power will allow it to remake the world in its own authoritarian image. But despite all these strengths, a future with China in charge is far from certain. Rich and poor, big and small, countries around the world are recognizing that engaging China produces new strategic vulnerabilities to their independence and competitiveness. Researching the book took Dr. Patey to East Africa, Latin America, Europe, and East Asia over the past five years and he will discuss how countries in these parts of the world are responding to China’s rise and assertiveness. This event was cosponsored by the Weatherhead East Asian Institute, the APEC Study Center and the Columbia Harvard China and the World Program at Columbia University.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, Economics, Geopolitics, Soft Power, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)
  • Political Geography: China, Asia
  • Author: Jason Po-Nien Chen
  • Publication Date: 02-2021
  • Content Type: Video
  • Institution: Weatherhead East Asian Institute, Columbia University
  • Abstract: This talk was composed of three main sections. First, Dr. Chen introduced the DPP's evolving cross-Strait policy by breaking it down into three respective phrases:1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Then he explained why the party changed from championing independence versus unification in 1990s; intraparty power struggle between de facto and de jure independence in 2000s; and reach the current position of "opposition to de facto unification under one China" rather than "pursuit of Taiwan de jure independence" in 2010s. Second, he shared his research finding and understanding regarding the DPP's view towards the status quo of cross-Strait relations. Third, he discussed the change and continuity of the DPP's position towards sovereignty and cross-Strait relations. Jason Chen has served in different positions in the Democratic Progressive Party for years mainly covering the party's external relations including cross-Strait relations and national security. His last position with the DPP was advisor (Section of National Security) in New Frontier Foundation, the DPP's think tank.
  • Topic: Sovereignty, Geopolitics, Domestic politics, Political Parties
  • Political Geography: China, Taiwan, Asia