Roundtable on Syria: Causes, Dynamics, and Prospects


Monday, September 30, 2013, 4:00pm to 6:00pm


CGIS South Bldg, Belfer Case Study Room 020, 1730 Cambridge St, Cambridge, MA

The Center for Middle Eastern Studies is pleased to present

Bassam Haddad
Bassam Haddad is Director of the Middle East Studies Program and teaches in the Department of Public and International Affairs at George Mason University, and is Visiting Professor at Georgetown University. He is the author of Business Networks in Syria: The Political Economy of Authoritarian Resilience (Stanford University Press, 2011). Bassam is currently editing a volume on Teaching the Middle East After the Arab Uprisings, a book manuscript on pedagogical and theoretical approaches. His most recent book is a co-edited volume with the title Dawn of the Arab Uprisings: End of an Old Order? (Pluto Press, 2012). Bassam serves as Founding Editor of the Arab Studies Journal a peer-reviewed research publication and is co-producer/director of the award-winning documentary film, About Baghdad, and director of a critically acclaimed film series on Arabs and Terrorism, based on extensive field research/interviews. More recently, he directed a film on Arab/Muslim immigrants in Europe, titled The "Other" Threat. Bassam is Co-Founder/Editor of Jadaliyya Ezine and serves on the Editorial Committee of Middle East Report. He is the Executive Director of the Arab Studies Institute, an umbrella for five organizations dealing with knowledge production on the Middle East, and Founding Editor of Tadween Publishing.

Amr Al Azm
Amr Al Azm is an associate professor of Middle East History and Anthropology at Shawnee State University in Ohio. He was educated in the U.K., reading archaeology of Western Asiatics at the University College London, and graduated with a doctoral degree in 1991. He was the director of Scientific and Conservation Laboratories at the General Department of Antiquities and Museums in Syria (1999-2004) and taught at the University of Damascus until 2006. From 2006-2009, he was a visiting assistant professor at Brigham Young University. While working in Syria, Al Azm was a first-hand observer and sometime participant of the reform processes instigated by Bashar Al-Assad.  This experience gave him unique insight into how these reforms are enacted and why, more often than not, they fail. Al Azm is an active member of the Syrian opposition and serves on the executive committee of the Day After Project.

Roger Owen, A.J. Meyer Professor of Middle East History, Emeritus, History Department, will moderate the discussion.

Please note: Professor Owen recommends the following essay as background reading, "Reflections on the Syrian Chemical Weapons Issue, Sept 15, 2013," by William R. Polk. While teaching at Harvard in the late 1950s, Dr. Polk was appointed by President John F. Kennedy to the Policy Planning Council of the US Department of State. In 1965, Dr. Poik resigned from government service to become a Professor of History at the University of Chicago, where he founded the Center for Middle Eastern Studies and was a founding director of the Middle Eastern Studies Association (MESA).

Contact: Liz Flanagan

Reflections%20on%20the%20Syrian%20Chemical%20Weapons%20Issue%20WPolk%209_15_13.pdf162 KB