A crowd of more than fifty people turned up to listen to Dr. Moshe Gershovich (Professor of History and Director of the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies at UNO) and Dr. Ramazan Kilinc (Assistant Professor of Political-Science and Coordinator of UNO’s Islamic Studies Minor). Dr. Curtis Hutt (Associate Professor of Religious Studies at UNO) moderated the panel.
Missing was Dr. Patrick McNamara, Interim Director of International Studies & Programs, who was overseas, facilitating meetings on transboundary water cooperation in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Each forum follows a simple formula: a brief discussion about recent events, then the floor opens for questions.
Thursday, the first question was about the impact and possible opportunities connected to the Syrian refugee crisis.
“This is a tragedy in which human beings are suffering, and suffering very deeply,” Kilinc answered. He doesn’t expect this situation to resolve quickly.
Gershovich added that he hopes the international community is capable of dealing with it.
“Speaking as someone who is Jewish, there are some chilling reminders of the past when people were desperate to leave and there was no one who would accept them, because nobody wanted foreigners,” Gershovich said.
The next question was related: “Why are Muslim countries not involved in bringing in these refugees?”
Kilinc replied that they are – pointing to Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey. Saudi Arabia, however, could be doing more.
A wide range of questions followed: How will reduced reliability on fossil fuels impact the Middle East? What’s the chance for a Kurdish state? Does the Iran deal have a future? Is there any chance of a regime change in Iran?
Gershovich’s short answer to the last question: “we don’t know.”
“I think Iran is sort of a half-baked pie,” Geroshovich said. “It hasn’t decided what it wants to be when it grows up.”
Future Middle East Forum events are scheduled for Oct. 22 and Nov. 19. Both events will take place in the Community Engagement Center (230/231), from noon to 1 p.m.
For media requests, please contact:
Sam Petto, UNO Media Relations Coordinator
402.554.2704 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Charley Reed, UNO Associate Director of Media Relations
402.554.2129 | email@example.com
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