Panel Discussion Summary

August 28, 2008

What's Going on in the Middle East?

Shai Feldman, Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies
Naghmeh Sohrabi, Assistant Director for Research at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies
Nader Habibi,Henry J. Leir Professor of the Economics of the Middle East
Lawrence Rubin, Lecturer on the Myra and Robert Kraft Chair in Arab Politics

The Crown Center kicked off the 2008-2009 academic year with the event “What’s Going on in the Middle East?” The event attracted a large number of students eager to learn more about the Crown Center’s focus, research, and classes. Following a short introduction to the Crown Center by the director, Prof. Shai Feldman, the panelists presented analyses of recent events in the Middle East, in addition to descriptions of new courses. Dr. Naghmeh Sohrabi discussed some of the nuances of the current Iranian Presidential politics as President Mahmoud Ahmadinijad is preparing for his final year in office and the 2009 presidential election. Prof. Nader Habibi presented the main findings from his research on the Gulf states’ Sovereign Wealth Funds and their impact domestically and internationally. Lecturer Larry Rubin described his class “Strategies of Islamic political activism in the Arab Middle East” and his dynamic teaching approach to the topic. Finally, Prof. Feldman concluded with his summary of the current situation in the Arab-Israeli conflict. He highlighted recent positive and negative developments in the conflict. Following the presentations, the students were mingled with Crown Center scholars over a delicious Middle Eastern cuisine.