Seminars

  • Founded
    1971
  • Seminar Number
    525

The seminar meets once a month during the academic year. A prominent expert from here or abroad leads a ninety minute discussion at each meeting. 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 prepared for archival purposes.


Chair
Gary Sick
ggs2@columbia.edu

Associate Chair
Lawrence Potter
lgp5@columbia.edu

Rapporteur
Roland Gillah
rag2221@columbia.edu

Meeting Schedule

09/11/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
The Gulf Goes Green: Can the Fossil Fuel Giants Lead the Energy Transition?
Karen E. Young, Columbia University




10/11/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the Iran-Iraq War
Annie Tracy Samuel, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Abstract

Abstract

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has become a strategic fixture in the modern Middle East. Political and military forces in Syria, Lebanon and Yemen have come to regard it with a measure of awe: as a savior, a remarkably successful trainer, and as a powerful tactician and ally. Others, in Israel and the Arab monarchies of the Persian Gulf, see the IRGC as an enemy that can be ignored only at their peril. That was not always the case. The IRGC was born in a moment of desperation as Saddam Hussein launched his surprise invasion of Iran's Khuzestan Province in September of 1980,when Iran's new Revolutionary Islamic government was first getting organized. They had no uniforms. no organization, and few military skills. By the time the war was over, they had an abundance of all three. Our speaker had access to their very candid reports about how that happened.





11/08/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
TBD
Hussein Ibish, Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington




12/06/2023 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Egypt and the United States: Managing Long-term Interests and Immediate Crises
James Ketterer, Bard College
Abstract

Abstract

This talk will focus on American misreadings of the 2011 Egyptian Revolution and 2013 coup, and resulting missed opportunities to reset relations, defaulting to decades-long patterns of substantial US assistance to the Egyptian military with selected additional support of some educational and public diplomacy initiatives. More recently, bilateral relations have been buffeted by increased concerns on Capitol Hill about Egyptian human rights abuses and alleged links between Egyptian intelligence and recently-indicted Senator Robert Menendez, who was chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until his indictment, all while Egypt's economy is strained by the military's governance and management choices. Egypt's role in the Israel-Gaza crisis further complicates relations in ways that remain unpredictable.





01/17/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM
Two Existential Crises: The Birth of the Conflict between Left and Right in Zionism, 1931-35 and the Watershed of 2023 in Israeli Politics
Mitchell Cohen, Baruch College and the Graduate Center of CUNY




02/14/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM

Peter Salisbury, Columbia University
Abstract

Abstract

After nine years of ruinous civil war, Yemen is generating headlines, but not as a result of one of the world's largest humanitarian crises. Instead, the country is in the spotlight because of a direct military confrontation between the US and the Houthi movement, also known as Ansar Allah, which controls much of Yemen's northwest. Peter Salisbury, the former International Crisis Group analyst for Yemen, will reflect on how we got here, drawing on 15 years work on and in the country.

Peter Salisbury is an adjunct professor at Columbia University where he co-lectures the International Conflict Resolution course at SIPA, and leads a seminar on policy making in Yemen. A former Senior Analyst for Yemen at the International Crisis Group and Senior Fellow at Chatham House, he works as a consultant to the World Bank and a major INGO's crisis analysis Programme. He also writes regularly on the political economy of conflict. A former journalist, Mr. Salisbury has written for the Economist, Financial Times and Foreign Affairs, among others. He won a Canadian Screen Award and an Emmy for his documentary film work with VICE News.





03/20/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM

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04/17/2024 Faculty House, Columbia University
5:00 PM

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