Middle East expert Bernard Haykel to discuss the Arab Spring as part of series of regional events

Image: B HaykelBernard Haykel, Ph.D., a respected international authority on the Middle East, will deliver "The Unvarnished Truths of the Arab Spring" on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, at Fairfield University's Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts. The 7 p.m. lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of "Understanding the Arab Spring," a five-part series of talks presented in collaboration with Trinity Episcopal Church of Southport and Congregation B'nai Israel of Bridgeport. It is an Open VISIONS Forum-Espresso event, part of the University's signature lecture series.

"Fairfield University takes special pride in welcoming this important Middle East lecture series, an urgent topic impacting people of many faiths, nations, and political outlooks," said Philip Eliasoph, Ph.D., professor of art history and moderator of Open VISIONS Forum. "This impressive platform established in 2005 by Trinity Episcopal Church in Southport is now joined by Bridgeport's Congregation B'nai Israel and united with our own Open VISIONS Forum-Espresso series. We want to invite engaged lifelong learners to attend a stimulating discussion presented by Dr. Haykel. By assuring attendees that OVF-Espresso events offer vital topics for our discerning, well-informed audience, our educational mission expands and embraces our community partners."

Dr. Haykel is professor of Near Eastern Studies at Princeton University, where he is also director of The Institute for the Transregional Study of the Contemporary Middle East, North Africa, and Central Asia. He is the author of "Revival and Reform in Islam," a regular contributor to The New York Times, PBS and other media outlets and scholarly journals and a sought-after public speaker.

Dr. Haykel is deeply interested in the political and social tensions that arise from the question of religious identity. His research and teaching interests lie at the juncture of the intellectual, political and social history of the Middle East. He holds a doctorate in Islamic Studies from the University of Oxford.

"Understanding the Arab Spring" features four additional distinguished speakers during February and March:

  • Thursday, February 21, 7 p.m.: Yoram Peri, Ph.D., will deliver "Israeli Perceptions of Arab Spring" at B'nai Israel, 2710 Park Avenue, Bridgeport. Dr. Peri is the Abraham S. and Jack Kay Chair in Israel Studies and director of the Joseph and Alma Gildenhorn Institute for Israel Studies at the University of Maryland at College Park.
  • Thursday, February 28, 7 p.m.: Omer Bajwa will deliver "Islam's role in the Arab Spring" at Trinity Episcopal Church, 651 Pequot Avenue, Southport. Bajwa is the coordinator of Muslim Life at Yale University.
  • Thursday, March 14, 7 p.m.: Joshua Muravchik, Ph.D., will deliver "Is the Arab Spring the Season for Democracy?" at Trinity Church. Dr. Muravchik is a fellow at the School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) of Johns Hopkins University.
  • Thursday, March 21, 7 p.m.: Mano Rumalshah, the Bishop Emeritus of Peshawar, delivers "The Life of Christians in the Muslim World" at Trinity Church.

"Understanding the Arab Spring" evolved from the popular and respected Mid-East Series begun in 2005 by the Rev. Nicholas Porter at Trinity Church. Fr. Porter believes discussing these issues is crucial. "The history of the Middle East is the history of humanity," he said. "How we respond to the current religious, political and environmental struggles of the Middle East is how we respond to ourselves. The outcomes of the powerful changes now gripping the region are in all our hands. This is the seventh year of Trinity's Mid-East Forum series, and we are excited that Congregation B'nai Israel and Fairfield University are expanding the conversation."

The Rabbi James Prosnit of Congregation B'nai Israel fully agreed. "The 'cross-town relationship' will bring thoughtful dialogue to the always thorny topic of Middle East politics," he said. "While opening ourselves up to diverse faith and political perspectives can be challenging, this newly expanded series will foster a healthy conversation and increased understanding among us."

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Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on February 14, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 165

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