Current Issues in the Middle East

Current Issues in the Middle East
5 sessions • 10 hours

The Middle East is arguably one of the most newsworthy areas of the world. For those seeking knowledge, the entrenched stereotypes and recurring sound-bites reduce the diversity and dynamism of this fascinating region to a simplistic “one-size-fits-all” monolith. Current Issues in the Middle East,” one of the longest-running and most popular courses in the ILR 55+ program, is an ongoing series. The experiences are designed to uncover the mystique associated with this vitally important area of the world.

Each week’s class will present and analyze the latest news from the Middle East. The instructor, a recognized area specialist, will highlight current issues as they unfold, framing them in a historical context, identifying key players, exploring the tangled web of interrelationships, and analyzing their impact on regional dynamics and the international order.

Among the issues under consideration for the spring of 2020 is the fate of ISIS after the death of its self-proclaimed “caliph,” the entrenchment of authoritarian rule in Egypt and Turkey, growing popular protests on the “Arab street,” saber-rattling by partisans on both sides of the Saudi Arabia: Iran debate, the evolving dynamics of Israel’s government, shifting political alliances, the future of the Kurds in Syria, and the growing profile of Russia and China in the Middle East.

In every discussion the role of the United States in the region, both historically and currently — particularly in a presidential election year —- will be considered. By way of presentations and select readings, films, guest speakers, and group discussions, it is expected you will gain a greater understanding and be able to address, with a greater level of confidence, some of the most compelling issues of our time. New content is discussed each term.

Instructor: Linda Pappas Funsch
Linda Pappas Funsch is a career specialist in modern Middle Eastern history and Islamic studies. With an MA in Near Eastern Studies from New York University, she has studied, worked, and traveled extensively throughout the region. A freelance writer, consultant, and author, Ms. Funsch’s latest book, Oman Reborn: Balancing Tradition and Modernization, was published 2015 and has been translated into Arabic. She has taught at both Hood College and Mount St. Mary’s University. She is a frequent speaker at scholarly symposia across the US, including Georgetown University, the University of Illinois, Champaign/Urbana, the World Bank, the National Council on USArab Relations, the National Defense University, and the Council on Foreign Relations, Santa Fe, NM, as well as the World Affairs Councils of Washington, DC, Albuquerque, NM, and Brookings, SD. Ms. Funsch is a frequent leader of small-group “learning on location” study visits to the Middle  East, including Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Oman.

Current Issues in the Middle East
SEN473 • 5-Digit Number: 19498
Wednesdays • 2:30 – 4:30 p.m. • 4/15 – 5/13
Sweadner Hall | Lecture Hall
Tuition: $40 | Fee: $109 | Total: $149
MD residents age 60+ pay fee only