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Challenges in the Contemporary Middle East to Be Examined in Pomona College Symposium

Pomona College presents a symposium on “Challenges in the Contemporary Middle East,” on Friday, March 24, offering attendees an opportunity to better understand the region and engage the most pressing issues confronting the area. Presenters include some of the nation’s most notable scholars and diplomats of the Middle East.

The discussions and related events are open to the public and will be held from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., in Room 101 of the Hahn Building (425 N. College Ave., Claremont). There is no charge to attend the event.

  • Michael C. Hudson, director of the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, will discuss “The U.S. in the Middle East Today: Iran, Lebanon and Syria.” Hudson is the editor and a contributor to Middle East Dilemma: The Politics and Economics of Arab Integration (1999); the author of The Precarious Republic: Political Modernization in Lebanon (1968, 2d ed. 1985); co-author of The World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators (2d ed. 1972); and author of Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy (1977), among other books and numerous articles. He is regularly interviewed about Middle East issues by the news media, including the BBC, National Public Radio, Arabic satellite channels, and major newspapers.
  • David L. Mack, vice president of the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC, and former ambassador to the United Arab Emirates will give an overview of “U.S. Policy Toward Iraq.” As Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs (1990-93). Mack directed the conduct of relations between the U.S. and 12 other governments, including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Syria. He provided political support for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm and promoted U.S. business interests in the Arab world. Ambassador Mack served as foreign policy advisor to U.S. Commerce Secretary Brown on his first trip to Saudi Arabia. As U.S. Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (1986-89), he was in charge of all U.S. government activities, including responsibility for diplomatic contacts with the leaders of the U.A.E., a country of strategic and commercial importance to the United States. His subjects ranged from hostilities with Iran to billions of dollars in economic contracts to cultural exchange.
  • As’ad AbuKhalil, author of Battle for Saudi Arabia: Royalty, Fundamentalism and Global Power (2004), will give a talk on “Understanding Political Islam: Beyond U.S. Media and Government Assumptions.” A professor of politics at California State University Stanislaus, he is also the author of Bin Laden, Islam, and America’s New “War on Terrorism" (2002) and Historical Dictionary of Lebanon (1998). He was born in Tyre, Lebanon, and received his B.A. and M.A. degrees in political science from the American University of Beirut. He got his Ph.D. in comparative government from Georgetown University.

The symposium also includes a question and answer session; a musical interlude on the ‘ud by Kenneth Habib, a visiting professor at Pomona College; and a screening of the video short Twenty.

Dr. Suheir Abu Oksa Daoud, a Palestinian writer and scholar from Western Galilee in Israel and a Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow at Pomona College, and Richard Worthington, professor of politics and director of Pomona’s Science, Technology and Society Program, will also participate.

The symposium is sponsored by the Pomona College International Relations Program and Politics Department. For more information, contact (909) 607-2448.

Pomona College, one of the nation’s premier liberal arts institutions, offers a comprehensive program in the arts, humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. Its hallmarks include small classes, close relationships between students and faculty, and a range of opportunities for student research.