Middle East Interest Group: Opening Meeting

Middle East Interest Group

Opening Meeting


28 January

1641 Humanities

Formed in cooperation with the Center For Middle East Studies, The Middle East Interest Group strives to increase awareness within the UW campus community regarding Middle Eastern affairs. Weekly, the group aims to discover a new perspective on Middle Eastern politics, economics, geography, culture, religion, language, arts, society and foreign interests. An alternating weekly schedule of films and discussion sessions has been developed to enhance understanding of a multitude of topics pertaining to this critical region.

This semester, the group will focus on four geographical regions and the interactions within them. Each month will combine film, both documentary and feature length, with the discussions and lectures to provide a wide scope of perspectives on the country in focus. The countries selected are Israel and Palestine, Iraq, Lebanon and the United States. The following is the 2010 semester schedule:

February: Israel and Palestine

-Following months of debate surrounding the 2008-09 Israeli Operation Cast Lead into the Gaza Strip the programming will explore issues of status, religion, war and justice within the bounds of these two nations. Is peace a realistic prospect for the two in their current relationship? How does the situation affect the daily lives of Palestinians and Israelis? Issues including the UN Goldstone Report, NGO activity and more will be addressed this month.

March: Iraq

-In March 2003, the United States invaded Iraq. In 2010 the United States remains in the country. This month we will explore the significance of this seven year relationship. Tracing back the conflict to its inception the programming aims to examine how the US invasion evolved and transformed Iraqi society. Accounts from military, religious, academic, media and government perspectives will dissect the interactions between the US and Iraq. This month will be greatly complemented by individual directly involved.

April: Lebanon

-in 2005, Lebanon entered into a revolution following the assassination of Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. By April 2005 the Cedar Revolution succeeded in ousting Syrian influence and formal presence within Lebanon. How has this multi-ethnic, -religious and -ideological population cooperated in forming one of the most “liberal” states in the Middle East? Issues such from Hezbollah to homosexuality will be evaluated determine the nature of contemporary Lebanese society. Is this a sustainable future?

May: The United States

-The semester will conclude with a consideration of what happens when Middle Eastern ideas, people and issues travel across the Atlantic to the United States. How do Americans interact with the Middle East within the United States? Topics including migration, advocacy, religion and customs will be analyzed during May.

For more information on this semester’s programming stay tuned to the Center’s blog at http://www.mideast.wisc.edu

If you are interested in joining the Center for Middle East Studies Mailing List, please e-mail cmes@mideast.wisc.edu with MAILING LIST in the subject line.

Please Note: We are open to new ideas and directions to maximize our understanding of the Middle East. NO PREVIOUS KNOWLEDGE IS REQUIRED.

Israel/Palestine Film Series