Middle East Initiative Newsletter: Spring 2009

| July 15, 2010

2009-2010 Academic Year

Middle East Mosaic

News From HKS Middle East Initiative


Thank You!

As the 2009-2010 academic year has come to a close, we want to thank all of you who participated in Middle East Initiative (MEI) programs and for helping us make this a great year for MEI.

Over the course of the past year MEI hosted students, speakers, diplomats, scholars and professionals in a variety of fields from nineteen countries throughout the Middle East and North Africa. Below are a few highlights from this year's events and activities including what's new at MEI. Follow the links to get more in-depth information on any subject of interest to you.

We invite you to engage with us in the upcoming year as we announce new programs and relationships in the region. Come by and visit us in our new quarters at 124 Mt. Auburn Street, Suite 100!

--Hilary Rantisi, Director



In 2009-2010 Nicholas Burns, Professor of the Practice of Diplomacy and International Politics at the Harvard Kennedy School, became the new faculty chair of MEI, and MEI formally joined the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs In 2009-2010 MEI drafted a plan to broaden its focus on the Middle East region by building upon existing programs and introducing new components. Here are a few highlights of new programs and activities:



MEI broke ground on a new Visiting Scholar Series welcoming Dr. Rima Khalaf, former Deputy Prime Minister of Jordan, as the first MEI visiting scholar. HKS students had the opportunity to engage with Dr. Khalaf and to learn from her deep knowledge of human development issues in the Arab World. The program was supported by a grant from the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of the Sciences.



F. Gregory Gause, III, professor of political science at the University of Vermont, joined the Middle East Initiative in the fall semester as KFAS Visiting Professor of International Affairs.

Professor Gause taught a course on Middle East politics, "International Relations of the Middle East", during his stay at HKS. His research interests focus on the international politics of the Middle East, with a particular interest in the Arabian Peninsula and the Persian Gulf.



The new Arabic Communication Workshop was designed for native Arabic speakers who wish to develop their communication skills in Arabic. Students who plan to pursue careers in public service or government in the Arab World need to be able to engage effectively with constituents in their native language. The workshop helped address this need by providing coaching and practice in public speaking in Arabic.



The new Diplomacy Series at MEI was launched in fall 2009. In all, MEI hosted five ambassadors and a consul-general to speak and engage with students and other attendees throughout the 2009-2010 academic year. The participating diplomats represented Algeria, Israel, Egypt, Lebanon and the PLO.




MEI/HKS hosted a total of seventy-nine participants in numerous Executive Education programs from twelve countries across the Middle

East and North Africa, including: Jordan, Saudi Arabia,  Bahrain, Egypt, Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Algeria, Iraq and the United Arab Emirates.

New 2009-2010 Executive Education programs included a regional leadership program in Jordan; a program in executive leadership and strategy for the U.A.E. (in Cambridge) and a program on education reform for Kuwaiti school principals (in Cambridge).



Middle East Initiative financially sponsors Executive Education Fellowships for students from the Middle East to attend Executive Education programs at Harvard Kennedy School. This year MEI hosted twelve fellows from Kuwait in various programs as well as two additional fellows - one from Syria and one from Lebanon.



MEI sponsored a symposium on Gender and Economics in the MENA region, introduced an Arabic public communications workshop and co-sponsored an annual workshop for political scientists with a Middle East focus.

2009 - 2010 Symposiums and Workshops:

MENA Gender and Economics Symposium: From Research to Action

In conjunction with the Center for Arab Women Training and Research (CAWTAR) and the World Bank, MEI hosted seventy participants - economists and NGO leaders from eighteen countries - who work on gender issues in the region. Participants traveled from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Egypt, France, Iran, Italy, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Occupied Palestinian Territories, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and Yemen to attend the gathering.

Northeast Middle East Politics Workshop

The fourth annual meeting of political scientists on the Middle East from universities throughout the U.S. Northeast region. Led by Prof. Tarek Masoud.

Arabic Communication Workshop

Workshop for Harvard Arab graduate students on communication and public speaking skills in the Arab World context.



MEI sponsored a total of thirty-five public events this year including eighteen lectures on a variety of topics on the Middle East region in the Speaker Series; six films in a Film Series, featuring films from Egypt, Turkey, Israel, Lebanon, The U.S. and Jordan; four co-sponsored Forum Events;

appearances by ambassadors representing Algeria, Israel, Egypt,Lebanon and the PLO at Harvard as part of our Diplomacy Series; an annual Harvard-wide Nowruz Celebration; a Live Videoconference event,"Voices of Gaza", featuring speakers from the Gaza Strip, organized by the MIT/Harvard Working Group on Gaza.



Through the support of the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences(KFAS, Middle East Initiative funds research grants for Harvard-wide faculty research on Kuwait and the Gulf. To date,forty research projects have been supported through this program.

2009 - 2010 Research Grants Awarded:

"The Dimensions of Obesity and its Contribution to the Burden of Non-Communicable Disease in Kuwait and the Gulf Region", Prof. Allan Hill, Harvard School of Public Health

"Entrepreneurial Finance Lab: Developing New Tools for Promoting SME's in the Middle East", Prof. Asim Ijaz Khwaja, Harvard Kennedy School



December 2010 marks ten years of a highly successful partnership between the Kuwait Foundation for the Advancement of Sciences and the Middle East Initiative. The program supports scholarship, research and training around public policy issues in Kuwait and throughout the Gulf region. MEI is currently planning an anniversary event and conference in Kuwait in December 2010 and looks forward to a continued relationship and collaboration with KFAS.

For more information on this publication: Please contact the Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Rantisi, Hilary. Middle East Initiative Newsletter: Spring 2009. July 15, 2010.