• Founded
  • Seminar Number

The seminar usually meets once a month during the academic year. A prominent expert from here or abroad, commonly from the Middle East, leads a four-hour discussion at each meeting, assuring ample time for serious dialogue on focused issues. The seminar provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and experiences by Middle East experts in various spheres—business, banking and investment, federal service, the foundations, the media, and the liberal professions as well as academia. The seminar has become a medium for carefully defined and informed evaluation of stubborn problems in a region that symbolizes mounting instability and proliferating crises. Detailed minutes are circulated to participating members for use without attribution to uphold the confidentiality of the discussion.

Professor Gary Sick

Associate Chair
Professor Lawrence Potter

Katherine von Ofenheim

Meeting dates and locations are subject to change. Please confirm details with the seminar rapporteur.

Meeting Schedule

09/11/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Syria up close: How it got so bad, and where it’s taking us
Anne Barnard, The New York Times

09/19/2019 International Affairs Building, Room 1512
5:30 PM
The Strike on Saudi Oil Facilities: Causes and Consequences
Jason Bordoff, Center on Global Energy Policy


"The Myth of U.S. Energy Independence Has Gone Up in Smoke -- Attacks on Saudi Arabia prove that, when it comes to oil, Washington still isn’t close to being master of its own fate"

Gary Sick, Columbia University


"The Days of One-Way Pain Are Over -- The Abqaiq attack punctured the myth that the US could pursue its policy of 'maximum pressure' with impunity"

10/23/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
The Israel-Hezbollah Confrontation: The Past as Prologue?
Nadim Shehadi, Lebanese American University’s Academic Center in New York and Chatham House (England, UK)

11/13/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Saudi Arabia and the United States: The End of the Affair?
Thomas W. Lippman, Middle East Institute

12/11/2019 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Afghanistan: Is Peace Possible?
Barnett R. Rubin, Afghanistan Regional Project and New York University

01/22/2020 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Iran's Wicked Water Problems and Politics
Kaveh Madani, Yale University and Imperial College London

02/19/2020 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM


03/25/2020 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM


04/29/2020 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM