28 Items

Barham A. Salih gestures as he speaks at the podium of the United Nations.

Timothy A. Clary/Pool Photo via AP

Press Release - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Barham A. Salih Joins Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs and Middle East Initiative at Harvard Kennedy School as Senior Fellow

The Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at Harvard Kennedy School is proud to announce the appointment of Barham A. Salih, esteemed Iraqi Kurdish leader and former President of the Republic of Iraq, as a Senior Fellow.

A conversation between Harvard Kennedy School Professor Tarek Masoud and Dalal Saeb Iriqat, a columnist and Palestinian academic. The event, held Thursday, was part of a series of dialogues on the Middle East hosted by Masoud.


Newspaper Article - The Boston Globe

After Backlash, Harvard Professor Holds Tense Conversation on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

| Mar. 07, 2024

Tarek Masoud, who questioned Iriqat’s views of Oct. 7 and how a two-state solution could be achieved during the event, said in an interview later on Thursday that he was “reasonably confident and hopeful” the discussion was an opportunity for learning, and added he appreciated that Iriqat “did not deny the atrocities of Oct. 7.” Understanding the Palestinian perspective is critical for moving toward peace and a two-state solution, Masoud said. Masoud and Iriqat agreed to discuss her controversial social media posts during the dialogue. Iriqat said that she did not intend to justify the violence on Oct. 7, which included kidnappings of children and elderly, beheadings, and massacres of civilians, but meant to place the attack in the context of a decades-long conflict. She was intensely critical of Israel throughout the conversation, saying the “settler-colonial project started 76 years ago.”

People take photographs near a John Harvard statue, left, Tuesday, Jan. 2, 2024, on the campus of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Mass.

(AP Photo/Steven Senne)

Analysis & Opinions - Wall Street Journal

Students Aren’t the Obstacle to Open Debate at Harvard

| Feb. 22, 2024

Professors hear a great deal these days about how hard it is to get our students to listen to, much less to engage with, opinions they dislike. The problem, we are told, is that students are either “snowflakes” with fragile psyches or “authoritarians” who care more about their pet causes than about democratic values such as tolerance, compromise and respect for opposing points of view. Students at Harvard, where I teach, returned from winter break in January to an institution that appeared determined to tackle this problem head-on. An email from the undergraduate dean reminded them that “The purpose of a Harvard education is not to shield you from ideas you dislike or to silence people you disagree with; it is to enable you to confront challenging ideas, interrogate your own beliefs, make up your mind and learn to think for yourself."

Muslim worshipers offer Eid al-Adha prayers next to the Dome of the Rock shrine at the Al Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, Wednesday, June 28, 2023. Muslims celebrate the holiday to mark the willingness of the Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham to Christians and Jews) to sacrifice his son. During the holiday, they slaughter sheep or cattle, distribute part of the meat to the poor and eat the rest.

(AP Photo/Mahmoud Illean)

Newspaper Article - The Boston Globe

Want to Learn More About the Middle East? Start Here.

| Nov. 26, 2023

Americans want to know more about the Middle East, and they are taking matters into their own hands. Literally. Last week, two of the five best-selling books on The New York Times' nonfiction paperback bestseller list were about the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. The surge in interest highlights a paradox in American politics: Despite the enormous significance of the Middle East, and of the American role there, we tend to learn very little about it. High school world history classes often barely touch on the modern Middle East.

Schools need to do better. But in the meantime, if you're one of those Americans seeking a broader understanding of the conflict, where should you turn? The Globe asked scholars of the region — including Tarek Masoud, a professor at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government; Lior Sternfeld, associate professor at Penn State University; and Susannah Heschel, professor at Dartmouth College — for book recommendations. 


Democracy in Hard Places

| Aug. 05, 2022
  • Includes chapters written by a distinguished cast of experts on democracy and comparative political regimes
  • Presents new case studies of democratic survival in the developing world
  • Offers theoretically incisive debates about what enables democracy to survive under difficult conditions
  • Provides new interpretations of the recent political histories of key "Third Wave" democracies

Photo of student exploring a xxxxxx

Photo by Alison Hillegeist

- Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

In-Person Insights Into the Middle East

| Spring 2022

In March, a 13-member delegation of Harvard students traveled to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to participate in a Harvard Kennedy School experiential field course on “Leadership and Social Transformation in the Arab World.”

Conceived and designed by Tarek Masoud, Ford Foundation Professor of Democracy and Governance and faculty director of the Middle East Initiative (MEI), the original model was a comparative, two-week January-term course visiting several Middle Eastern countries. However, due to the surge in COVID-19 cases in late 2021, Masoud and his co-instructor, MEI Senior Fellow Sultan Al-Qassemi, reshaped the course into a condensed module—held March 11-20, 2022—focused on the UAE.

Mosaic Cover

Vinci Design


Middle East Initiative Mosaic 2020-2021

| Aug. 01, 2021

The 2020-2021 issue of the Mosaic highlights MEI programs and activities during the academic year. This year's issue features the work of students, fellows, faculty, and staff on public policy issues in the Middle East, including a focus on innovative research on the challenges and opportunities facing the region from our scholarly community, Kennedy School students' remarkable contributions on campus and in the region, and a dynamic year of public engagement.