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Biweekly, Wednesday  12-2, Week 2
workshop full

Since WW I, civil society in the Middle East has been struggling to find prosperity, equity, and stability in a post-colonial world of nation-states that include Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Israel/Palestine, Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States, Yemen, Egypt, and Turkey.   We will explore the powerful ethnic, religious, and cultural loyalties that have emerged over millennia, and that continue to influence socio-political activities across the region.  Arab and Kurdish nationalism, Islamist movements, the role of women, Arab-Israeli tension, and the Arab Spring would be obvious topics.  In addition, there will be related global issues, including shifting alliances, the right to self-determination, refugee settlement, oil, terrorism, and capitalist-socialist polarization.

Workshop participants are expected to make a 20-minute presentation on a topic chosen by them, in consultation with the facilitators.


Mohammed Bakir ( holds 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 four workshops – two on Islam, one on Iran, and one on Mesopotamia.

Joan McCordic ( studied Philosophy & English at U. of T. and subsequently worked as an administrator in both education and the arts.  In 1966 she co-founded Prologue, an organization that enables professional performing artists and companies to visit schools across Ontario.

Workshop Notes:


Revised Reading List

Regional map