Announcing the Middle East Dialogues

| Jan. 30, 2024

Today, four months after Hamas’ terrorist attack in southern Israel, the grim toll of that tragedy continues to mount: more than 1,400 Israelis killed. More than 100 hostages still trapped somewhere underneath Gaza. And according to Palestinian health authorities, more than 25,000 Gazans—half of whom are women and children—killed in Israeli airstrikes. The IDF and Hezbollah continue to exchange fire over the Lebanese-Israeli border, and Iranian proxies have struck at American and allied targets in Yemen, Syria, and Jordan—the last of which took the lives of 3 U.S. servicemen. It is not an exaggeration to say that the region is perched precariously on the brink of a war whose toll threatens to dwarf that which has been paid so dearly these past sixteen weeks. 

Ever since October 7th, we at the Middle East Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School have made it our mission to help our community understand what is happening and to expose them to the best thinking on how peace may be achieved. At a time when much attention has been focused on our University and its perceived failures in fostering dialogue on difficult, divisive issues, we have been working quietly to demonstrate that this is in fact a place where open inquiry, searching debate, and honest conversation can and do happen. We encourage you to revisit some of our events from last semester, which unfortunately remain as relevant today as when we first conducted them. 

This semester, we continue our efforts to inform our community with a series of conversations that I will be conducting with individuals whom I believe present vital and varied perspectives on the conflict, the United States’ role in it, and the broader challenges and opportunities facing the Middle East as a whole. My interlocutors in these discussions could not be more different from each other in terms of their beliefs, commitments, and analyses of the present situation. But they have been chosen because they represent points of view that I believe anyone who cares about the region can ill afford ignore. We hope you will join us for these critical conversations, which I hope will not just make us smarter, but also help us to better become instruments of peace and prosperity in a part of the world that surely deserves them:

February 15, 2024: A conversation with Jared Kushner, former senior advisor to president Donald Trump and the author of Breaking History: A White House Memoir 

February 29, 2024: A conversation with Matt Duss, executive director of the Center for International Policy and former foreign policy advisor to Senator Bernie Sanders

March 7, 2024: A conversation with Dalal Saeb Iriqat, professor of diplomacy and conflict resolution, Arab American University Palestine and columnist for Al-Quds newspaper

March 26, 2024: A conversation with Salam Fayyad, former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority (2007-2013)

April 12, 2024: A conversation with Einat Wilf, author, professor, and former member of the Israeli Knesset. 

More guests will be announced in the coming weeks. Space is limited, so if you are interested in attending any of these events, please register here as soon as possible. And please do not hesitate to reach out to me or the Middle East Initiative team if you have any questions, feedback, or ideas for what else we can do to help fulfill our educational mission. 


Tarek Masoud
Faculty Chair, Middle East Initiative

For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Masoud, Tarek.“Announcing the Middle East Dialogues.” Announcement, , January 30, 2024.

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