In the Fall 2005, the Crown Center inaugurated The Crown Forum, a series of off-the-record lunch briefings held in Boston with Middle East insiders regarding regional developments. Designed to enrich the community’s understanding of the Middle East, invitees include a select group of Boston business leaders, senior members of the media, and the intellectual communities of Brandeis University, Harvard University, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Building on the success of the Boston Crown Forum, the center has launched Crown Forum New York City. Hosted by the Brandeis House.
To date the Crown Forum has hosted:
- Dr. Nader Habibi, Henry J. Leir Professor of Economics of the Middle East, Brandeis Univ. Presented his talk "How are Arab Oil-Exporting Countries Investing their Petrodollars?" focusing on the political and economic implications of the growing Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Soverign Wealth Funds.
- Prof. Asher Susser, Senior Fellow on the Myra and Robert Kraft Chair in Arab Politics, Crown Center. His talk "Israel's Place in the 'New' Middle East" focused on a central historical change in the Middle East during the recent decades: The relative decline of the power and regional influenec of the key Arab states: Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and the parallel rise of regional power and influence of the region's non-Arab states: Iran, Turkey and Israel.
- Major General Aharon “Farkash” Zeevi, the Israeli Defense Forces’ director of military intelligence. Zeevi emphasized the key role of intelligence in combating terrorism and analyzed the reasons for Israel’s success in containing terrorist attacks launched against Israeli citizens since September 2000.
- Dr. Khalil Shikaki, Director of the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah. His briefing, “Palestinian Public Opinion and Domestic Politics: Impact on the Prospects for Peace,” focused on Palestinian public opinion since the death of Yassir Arafat and in the aftermath of Israel’s disengagement from Gaza.
- Dr. Siamak Namazi, Managing Director of Atieh Bahar Consulting in Tehran. Namazi provide a unique Iranian perspective on the questions:What is Iran attempting to achieve through its nuclear program? What is the meaning of the positions taken by Iran’s President regarding Israel and the Holocaust?
- MP Fabian Hamilton, Member of the UK House of Commons Select Committee on Foreign Affairs. Hamilton addressed a variety of topics related to Europe's policy on the Middle East. Including: Europe's approach to Ira's nuclear ambitions, the evolving situation in Iraq, the Israeli-Palestinian sphere following Hamas' electoral victory, and the Muslim-European cartoon crisis.
- Prof. Habib Malik, Associate Professor of History and Cultural Studies at the Lebanese American University (Byblos Campus). Malik analyzed the situation in Lebanon after a dramatic year that included: the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, the withdrawal of Syria’s military forces from Lebanon, the parliamentary elections, and the inclusion of Hizbollah in the Lebanese government.
- Prof. Shai Feldman, Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies. Prof. Feldman discussed the immidiate implications of the Hezbollah-Israel war for Israel and the region.
- Dr. Abdel Monem Said Aly, Director of the Al-Ahram Center for Stratigic and International Studies, Cairo, Egypt. Dr. Said Aly analyzed the 'Sixth Arab-Israeli War,' the Hezbollah-Israel conflict, from an unique arab perspective. Dr. Said Aly provided both a strategic assesment of the war, as well as identified the broader regional trends that effected the reactions to the war.