Modern Middle East

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Bi-weekly – Week 2 ; Wednesday ; 12pm – 2pm

Term 1 – via Zoom; Term 2 – Tartu (tbc)     Space Available

Our continuing goal is to understand the issues that consume civil society in the Middle East as it struggles to find status and stability in the modern world.  This region is home to powerful ethnic, religious, and cultural loyalties that are centuries older than the national borders marked on todays map: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, the Gulf States, Yemen, Egypt, and Turkey.   Appropriate study topics would include Arab and Kurdish nationalism; Persian, Islamic, and Jewish history; the Arab Spring; regional conflicts and various Islamist movements – as well as the role of powerful regional leaders, their arguments and influence.  We will also examine related global issues (old and new), including shifting alliances; climate change and the future of oil; human rights and refugees; capitalist-socialist polarization, pandemics and terrorism. 

In consultation with the facilitators, each workshop participant will choose a topic to research and present to the group for discussion. 


Mohammed Bakir( a Ph.D. in statistics from Leeds University, U.K., and has worked mainly on socio-economic statistics and research. He was born in Iraq and immigrated to Canada in 2002.  Mohammed has co-facilitated several workshops related to the Middle East region. 

Joan McCordic( studied Philosophy & English at U. of T. and subsequently worked as an administrator in both education and the arts.   Since joining the Academy she has co-facilitated, participated in a number of Board and Committee activities, and enjoyed a variety of workshops. 

Workshop Notes:

Topic Suggestions