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Middle East Expert Headlining Peacebuilding Symposium

An authority on Middle Eastern politics will be the featured speaker at Providence College’s Symposium on Peacebuilding and Justice in the Middle East on Wednesday, April 24 at 5 p.m.

The event, which will be held in Moore Hall II and is open to the public, will focus on the peaceful alternatives and challenges for social and political change that have been brought about during the “Arab Spring” movement and its aftermath.

Dr. Marc Lynch, an associate professor of political science and director of the Institute for Middle East Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at The George Washington University, will headline the symposium. His lecture, entitled “After the Arab Uprisings: Prospects for Democracy or Instability,” will be followed by a question-and-answer session.

Lynch, a former Middle East advisor to President Obama’s reelection campaign and a leading expert on Islamist movements and international relations, also is a non-resident senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security.

He is the author of several books, including The Arab Uprising: The Unfinished Revolutions of the New Middle East (PublicAffairs, 2012) and Voices of the New Arab Public (Columbia University Press, 2006). He also frequently contributes to journals, such as Foreign Affairs and Middle East Policy, and Foreign Policy magazine’s Middle East blog.

Lynch received his bachelor’s degree in political science from Duke University and master’s and doctoral degrees in government from Cornell University.

PC professors, students also to speak

In addition to Lynch, two PC political science faculty members, assistant professors Dr. Ruth Ben-Artzi and Dr. Jeffrey Pugh, and eight PC political science students will present at the symposium.

Ben-Artzi, who has taught at the College since 2006, specializes in international relations, political economy, and the Middle East. She will lead a dinner seminar following Lynch’s lecture at 6:30 p.m. in Slavin 116. The interactive seminar will explore the implications of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict for regional security. The dinner is open to the campus community, but an RSVP is requested.

Pugh, who has taught at PC since 2010, specializes in peace, conflict resolution, and social justice. He facilitated an international negotiation skills-training workshop, and his International Conflict Resolution class participated in a simulation of a dialogue process based on the current conflict in Egypt. The students will present reflections on their experiences as negotiators during the symposium.

Pugh said the event is an opportunity to bring “teaching out of the classroom and to bring leading scholar-practitioners to campus to address real-world problems, while also encouraging students to contribute their own research.”

“Instead of reading about the Arab Spring in a textbook, our students are able to learn about the complexities of conflict by putting their negotiation skills to work in a simulation of the turmoil in Egypt,” he said. “I think that linking research, teaching, and practice in this way is critical as we prepare students to be engaged global citizens.”

The symposium is co-sponsored by the Department of Political Science, the PC chapter of Pi Sigma Alpha (the national political science honor society), the PC Center for Teaching Excellence’s Interdisciplinary Faculty Seminar on Justice, and the Center for Mediation, Peace, and Resolution of Conflict. The symposium is being supported by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Peace’s Public Education for Peacebuilding Support Initiative and a chapter grant from Pi Sigma Alpha.

The symposium and student research will be recorded and made available through the College’s Digital Commons portal at http://digitalcommons.providence.edu/peacebuilding.

For more information about the event, contact Dr. Jeffrey Pugh at 401-865-2136 or at jpugh@providence.edu.

— Chris Machado

 

 
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