News & Events
An integral part of the Center's mission is to plan a wide range of activities to shed light on the major issues in the Middle East and their significance in the global arena. The Center will work to advance knowledge of the relationship between economic development and successful peace efforts. The Center will host guest speaker series, seminars and cultural events as well as dissemination of relevant research reports, media resources and special lectures.
Recent News & Events
Middle East Center Associate Interviewed by Al Jazeera
Gregory Aftandilian, Associate of the Middle East Center, was interviewed by journalist Yaser Alarami of Al Jazeera Arabic on U.S. policy toward Egypt. The article appeared on March 19, 2014, titled, "U.S. aid is on its way to Egypt." Aftandilian stated that he believes Secretary of State John Kerry is inclined to continue the bilateral relationship as much as possible because he sees Egypt as a pivotal country in the region. That said, the State Department has criticized Egypt over the arrests of journalists and bloggers in recent weeks, and Kerry is facing pressure from some Democrats and Republicans not to release suspended U.S. aid because of such problems. Kerry might point to the successful completion and passage of Egypt's new constitution and plans for presidential and parliamentary elections as a justification for releasing U.S. aid to Egypt, though he might succumb to some of the political pressure by releasing the aid slowly in tranches.
nter hosts Film Screening of Syrian Bride
The Middle East Center hosted a screening of Eran Riklis' powerful film about a Syrian Bridge, Mona, for whom her wedding day is the saddest day of her life. She knows that once she crosses the border between Israel and Syria to get married, she will never be allowed back to her beloved family in the Golan Heights. Professor Wael Kamal, Journalism and Media Studies, led a discussion following the film with students from his department as well as Political Science, Peace and Conflict Studies, and Community Social Psychology.
Women in Public Service Conference Hosts Delegates from Middle East and around the World
UMass Lowell welcomed emerging women leaders from Afghanistan, Turkey, Northern Ireland and Liberia for a conference on Conflict Transformation through Economic Development and Innovation. The conference, organized in partnership with the other UMass campuses and Arizona State University, San Francisco State University and University of Maryland Baltimore County, served as the launch of the public sector involvement in the Women in Public Service Project (WPSP). Read more
New Courses Cover Key Topics in Middle East
Perspectives on Human Rights
An interdisciplinary course built around the visit of 2014 Greeley Scholar Albie Sachs, focused on issues of human rights around the world, including a special focus on the Middle East. The Honorable Albie Sachs is a former constitutional court justice in South Africa who was appointed to the bench by Nelson Mandela. During his residence at UMass Lowell in April, Justice Sachs will teach the classes. During the rest of the semester, inter-disciplinary faculty will teach the course. Professor Paula Rayman, Director of the Middle East Center and Peace and Conflict Studies, acted as coordinator for this special interdisciplinary seminar. Professor Shana Minkin provided her expertise as a historian to discuss discourses about human rights in Egypt, Professor Deina Abdelkader explored the univerality of morality, and Professor Wael Kamal will looked at the relationship between communication, media and human rights.
Bridging Minds for Peace: Interfaith Perspectives and The Universal Moral System
Professor Wagdi Zeid developed an innovative new course focused on exploring how a universal moral system could help resolve conflicts in the Middle East. Through examining four major interfaith studies, the course helped students identify and explore a set of morals in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, examine how far this set of morals could be universally accepted by all, even the nonreligious and shed light on the possibilities and challenges to bridging the religious divide through a universal, interfaith moral code.
Cross-Cultural Conflict Resolution through Media
Professor Wael Kamal, Journalism & Media Studies and Art, is developing a course that uses media (in the form of video) to promote cross-cultural communication for peace. This course is guided by the idea that promoting a “one-size-fits-all” democratic model has been misguided, and ultimately counterproductive. In the course, students will create short videos without dialogue (just music) and share them with students from a different culture, as an example with a partner University in the United Arab Emirates and vice-versa. Through this process, the students will explore creating a common ground of understanding between different cultures with the aim of coexistence. Students are going to read and learn about negotiating change via communication instead of forcing change via power. The class will focus on the concept of accepting the other with the aim of coexistence and peace.
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