Center for Regional Studies

Kylan Jones-Huffman Lecture Series, 2008-2009


25 August 2008
Ken Stein
"Lessons Learned from Previous Arab-Israeli Negotiations: Advice to the Next President"

Dr. Kenneth W. Stein is the William E. Schatten Professor of Contemporary Middle Eastern History, Political Science and Israeli Studies at Emory University, Atlanta Georgia. He founded and developed the International Studies Center, was the first director of the Carter Center (1983-1986), and established the Institute for the Study of Modern Israel (ISMI). Professor Stein is the author of numerous books and publications. Among them are Hebrew and English editions of Heroic Diplomacy: Sadat, Kissinger, Carter, Begin and the Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace (Routledge:1999); Making Peace Among Arabs and Israelis: Lessons from Fifty Years of Negotiating Experience (United States Institute for Peace:1991), and The Land Question in Palestine, 1917-1939 (North Carolina Press: 1984, 1985, and 2003). Dr. Stein received his undergraduate BA degree from Franklin and Marshall College and two Masters and his doctoral degree from The University of Michigan. He studied for two years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.


8 September 2008
Linda Gradstein
"Covering Israel: A Reporters Perspective"

Linda Gradstein has been the Israel correspondent for NPR since 1990. She is a member of the team that received the Overseas Press Club award for her coverage of the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and the team that received Alfred I. DuPont-Columbia University Award for Excellence in Broadcast Journalism for her coverage of the Gulf War. Linda spent 1998-9 as a Knight Journalist Fellow at Stanford University. Gradstein has covered important events in Israel and the West Bank and Gaza Strip including the intifada, the mass immigration of Soviet immigrants to Israel, the return of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat to Gaza, the rise of Hamas, the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin, the Gulf war, and two elections in Israel. Linda earned a bachelor's degree in Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1985 and a master's degree in Arab Studies. She spent a year as a Rotary Fellow at the American University in Cairo.


1 October 2008
Jack Renard
"Speaking of Islam: Identifying Bigotry and Double Standards in Public Discourse"

Jack Renard is a Professor of Islamic Studies in the Department of Theological Studies at Saint Louis University. He has a PhD in Islamic Studies from Harvard University and is the author of numerous books including Knowledge of God in Classical Sufism: Foundations of Islamic Mystical Theology (2002), Islam and the Heroic Image: Themes in Literature and The Visual Arts (1999). His most recent work, Friends of God: Islamic Images of Piety,Commitment, and Servanthood is published by the University of California Press (2008).


6 October 2008
Ahmed Rashid
"Descent into Chaos: The United States and the Failure of Nation Building in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Central Asia"

Ahmed Rashid, a Pakistani journalist was the Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review for 22 years. His latest book Jihad, The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia was published in February 2002 by Yale University Press and has been translated into 15 languages. In 2003, it was published in paperback by Penguin Books and has also become a course book for universities throughout the US, Europe and Japan.


20 October 2008

Alex Gibney
"Taxi to the Dark Side"

2008 Academy Award Winner – Best Documentary

An in-depth look at the torture practices of the United States in Afghanistan, Iraq and Guantanamo Bay, focusing on Dilawar, a 22 year old innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed in 2002.

After Film: Q & A with writer/director Alex Gibney
Alex Gibney is an Oscar, Emmy and DuPont Columbia award winning American film director and producer. His works as director include Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005) (nominated for an Academy Award), The Trials of Henry Kissinger (2002), The Human Behavior Experiments (2006), Jimi Hendrix and the Blues, and Taxi to the Dark Side (2007), focusing on an innocent taxi driver in Afghanistan who was tortured and killed at Bagram Air Force Base in 2002 (winner of the Academy Award for Documentary Feature). Several films he directed and/or produced have been screened at the Cannes, Sundance, and Tribeca Film Festivals. Gibney is the President of Jigsaw Productions, a production company which produces independent films, music documentaries, and TV mini-series. This year he won the Yale Film Studies' Program Award for his contributions to film culture.


17 November 2008
Iain Shearer
"Lost Cities of Central Asia: An Archaeology of War at Jam Afghanistan, Nishapur Iran, and Penjikent Tajikistan"

Iain Shearer is an archaeologist and research affiliate at the Centre for Applied Archaeology based at University College London. He has excavated in Afghanistan and Iran, including at Nishapur and is also employed as a freelance researcher for Lonely Planet guidebooks.


Spring 2009


12 January 2009
Hugo Gajus Scheltema
"The Middle East and Afghanistan: Some European Thoughts"

Ambassador Gajus Scheltema is currently the Consul General of the Netherlands in New York. He previously has served as the Dutch Ambassador to Jordan and a political adviser to ISAF Regional Command South in Kandahar, Afghanistan.


23 February 2009
McGuire Gibson
"Culture in Wartime: The Case of Iraq"

McGuire Gibson is professor of Mesopotamian Archaeology at the Oriental Institute and the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. He is one of the world's leading authorities on ancient Mesopotamia. He has done fieldwork in Iraq and elsewhere in the region and has published extensively. He was as part of a National Geographic delegation visiting Iraq to inspect archaeological sites in 2003. He also has provided expert advice to UNESCO and other cultural and scholarly organizations working to preserve the archaeological heritage of Iraq. His fieldwork has taken him to Nippur, the religious center of ancient Mesopotamia. Additionally, he has done fieldwork in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and northeastern Syria. In 1992, he and colleague Augusta McMahon published Lost Heritage: Antiquities Stolen from Iraq's Regional Museums, the first academic publication to call attention to the problem of looting after the first Gulf War. He also is the author and co-author of numerous articles and books on ancient Mesopotamia.


23 March 2009
Reuven Firestone
"The Death and Resurrection of Jewish Holy War"

Rabbi Firestone is Professor of Medieval Jewish and Islamic Studies, HUC-JIR/Los Angeles. He served for eight years as Director of HUC-JIR's Edgar F. Magnin School of Graduate Studies and the Jerome Louchheim School of Undergraduate Jewish Studies at the University of Southern California, which offers degrees in cooperation with HUC-JIR. Prior to joining the HUC-JIR faculty, he taught at Boston University and was Yad Hanadiv Research Fellow at the Hebrew University. He received a Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) III research fellowship for the Spring 2006 semester for study at the American University of Cairo, funded by the Fulbright Binational Committee in Egypt and the U.S. Department of Education. In 2000, Professor Firestone was awarded a fellowship for independent research from the National Endowment for the Humanities, and was chosen to be a fellow of the Institute for Advanced Jewish Studies at the University of Pennsylvania in 2002. His specialties are early Islam and its relationship with Jews and Judaism, scriptural interpretation of the Bible and Qur'an, and the phenomenon of holy war.


27 April 2009
Naif al-Mutawa
the 99 ninety-nine

Naif al-Mutawa is the creator of the 99 ninety-nine – the first group of superheroes born of an Islamic archetype. A PhD in Clinical Psychology from Long Island University, he has had extensive clinical experience working with former prisoners of war in Kuwait as well as at the Survivors of Political Torture unit of Bellevue Hospital in New York.

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