New Middle East seminar to be Brandeis-Harvard joint venture

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis will inaugurate a new Crown-Belfer Middle East Seminar series on Sept. 29 with a program featuring Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu.

The new series aims to assemble professors and experts from the Boston area universities and encourage debate on issues in the Middle East and U.S. policy within the region. The minister will discuss Turkey’s role in the Middle East during the closed session.

"This is an ambitious new program that we hope will unite Boston universities in an intense focus on U.S. policy in the greater Middle East,” said seminar cochair Nicholas Burns, professor of the practice of science and international affairs at the Kennedy School.

As foreign minister, Davutoğlu’s innovative approach to Turkish foreign policy combines its Ottoman history, Muslim culture and experience with the West to inform Turkey's claim to a place at the center of world and Middle East affairs. From 2003 until his appointment as foreign minister in 2009, Davutoğlu served as chief advisor to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and as an ambassador-at-large. Outside of government, Davutoğlu is also known as one of Turkey’s most distinguished political scientists.

As a professor, he has published several books and was head of the Department of International Relations at the Beykent University in Istanbul.

"With a stellar record as a scholar and now an influential practitioner, there is no one more appropriate than Foreign Minister Davutoğlu to launch the kind of high-level discussions of the Middle East that we envision for the Crown-Belfer Seminar," said seminar cochair Shai Feldman, director of the Crown Center. "Our goal is to make the new Seminar series the address in the Boston area for such high-level discussions."

Working with the Middle East Initiative at the Kennedy School, the Crown-Belfer Middle East Seminar plans to hold conferences that bring together scholars from the Middle East, U.S. and Europe, and will organize Track-II discussions between non-officials on the Israel-Palestine conflict aimed at laying groundwork for official negotiations.

Categories: International Affairs

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