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The Story of the Jews: Finding the Words (1000 BCE–1492) | 04/10/14
Never at a loss for words, the inimitable, erudite, and very funny Simon Schama free-associates his way through Jewish history: the Old Testament, Jewish dancing masters in 16th century Italy, Passover recipes, the future of Israel--it's all here, and more.
The Fog of Peace: The Human Face of Conflict Resolution | 02/25/14
The courageous Gianni Picco played a central role in negotiating the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan, met with Saddam Hussein to bring an end to the Iran-Iraq War, and traveled to both Beirut and Tehran to rescue 11 hostages and 91 other prisoners. How did he do it? By treating adversaries as individuals, not just government representatives.
Differing Perspectives on Iran and the Middle East Peace Process: Is there a Crisis in U.S.-Israel Relations? | 02/13/14
Dov Waxman, David C. Speedie
Do the public disagreements between the Obama administration and the Netanyahu government over Iran's nuclear program and the current peace talks with the Palestinians signal a growing rift between the United States and Israel? How strong is the alliance between the countries? What does the future hold for Israel?
My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel | 11/27/13
Speaking just after the November 23 nuclear deal with Iran, Ari Shavit is skeptical: "The question is: Is it an act of creating the time to wake up and see what's there; or is it a process of deluding ourselves one last time, which will be the very last time?" He also discusses his homeland, Israel--its history, its deep-rooted problems, and its vibrancy.
U.S. Policy on Iran and the Middle East: Where Do We Go From Here? | 09/27/13
Gary Sick, David C. Speedie
Are we on the brink of a new era in Iran-U.S. relations? Maybe. Iran expert Gary Sick discusses President Rouhani's UN speech, which took place just before this event, plus previous missed opportunities and the current possibilities of rapprochement. While condemning the regime, he sees an opening for constructive negotiations.
The World Through Arab Eyes: Arab Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Middle East | 06/10/13
While domestic injustices and the information revolution were key factors, Dr. Telhami argues it's impossible to understand the Arab uprisings without also referring to foreign policy. "The dignity that they sought to restore in these uprisings was not only about their relationship with the rulers, but was about their relationship with the rest of the world."
Behind the Headlines--After the Israeli Elections: A New Chapter or More of the Same? | 02/25/13
Why were the recent Israeli elections results so different from expectations? Why were the main issues domestic ones, with little attention paid to Iran or the Palestinian situation? For answers to these questions and more, look to Yoram Peri's expert analysis of the complexities of Israeli politics and concerns.
Report from the Middle East | 02/14/13
Charles D. Freilich
Chuck Freilich's knowledgeable talk gives us an overview of the primary forces at work today in the Middle East--and some potential outcomes. He also provides an insider's analysis of Israel's politics and prospects.
Public Affairs: The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells Us About Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate | 01/31/13
Robert D. Kaplan
With a breadth and depth of knowledge spanning not only current geopolitics but centuries of history, Robert Kaplan shows us the crucial importance of geography in shaping our destinies. Geography still matters, and always will.
Prospects for U.S.-Iran Relations | 01/03/13
Seyed Hossein Mousavian, David C. Speedie
Iran and the U.S. have a long list of common interests, including Afghanistan, stability in Iraq, and fighting drug trafficking. A good way to start creating trust between the two nations would be to cooperate on these issues, instead of always focusing on divisive ones like nuclear capability.
Israel and Hamas: Time to Talk? | 12/17/12
Hamas is unlikely to ever become a partner for peace with Israel, but it can be a partner for coexistence, albeit a limited and uneasy coexistence. For Israelis and Palestinians this is surely better than no peace at all, which is, alas, the most likely scenario at present.
Hard Questions for Humanitarians | 12/03/12
Do international laws intended to constrain war and uphold human rights unwittingly legitimate violence? Zach Dorfman of Carnegie Council reviews Eyal Weizman's book, "The Least of All Possible Evils."
Ethics Matter: Dan Ariely on the Hidden Forces that Shape our Decisions | 11/20/12
Dan Ariely, Marlene Spoerri
Why do smart people cheat? Why do we eat more than we should or text while driving? In this funny and insightful talk, behavioral economist Dan Ariely explores the hidden factors that shape our most puzzling decisions and shows how emotions, peer pressure, and sheer irrationalism dictate our behavior.
Syria: The Fall of the House of Assad | 10/23/12
David W. Lesch
David W. Lesch has traveled to Syria repeatedly since 1989 and met President Bashar al-Assad several times in the mid-2000s. He discusses the conflict in the influential Middle Eastern nation, why an American intervention is a dangerous idea, and why Assad has cracked down so absolutely.
Public Affairs: America in the 21st Century: A View from Asia | 10/16/12
Kishore Mahbubani, Joanne J. Myers
The good, the bad, and the ugly: distinguished Singaporean Kishore Mahbubani politely but firmly tells Americans how Asians see them, and warns, "the world that is coming is a world outside your comfort zones."
America in the 21st Century: A View from the Arab World | 09/17/12
The key is still the Arab-Israeli conflict, says Muasher. "The U.S. is not going to be able to regain its credibility in the region if it tells the Arab public that 'If you are Egyptians or Tunisians or Syrians or Libyans yearning for freedom, we are with you, but if you are Palestinians yearning for freedom, it's complicated.'"
The Business of Peace | 07/18/12
Steve Killelea, Margarita Quihuis, Mark Nelson, Julia Taylor Kennedy
Is it possible to quantify peace? Australian entrepreneur Steve Killelea found a correlation between peace and business and at Stanford's Peace Innovation Lab, researcher Mark Nelson and lab director Margarita Quihuis are looking to get businesses involved in encouraging peace.
The Arab Spring: Unfinished Business | 07/02/12
Robert Malley, Joanne J. Myers
What should we make of Egypt's new president? What should the United States do in Syria? What is the future of the Palestine-Israel conflict? International Crisis Group's Robert Malley tries to make sense of a confusing time in the Middle East and North Africa.
Heaven on Earth: A Journey Through Shari'a Law from the Deserts of Ancient Arabia to the Streets of the Modern Muslim World | 04/20/12
Sadakat Kadri, Joanne J. Myers
In the wake of the terrorist attacks and wars of the last decade, for many non-Muslims "shari'a" has become both a loaded word and an all-encompassing explanation. But the history and practice of shari'a is actually complex and varied, as Sadakat Kadri discovers.
Human Rights Watch World Report 2012 | 04/17/12
Kenneth Roth, Joanne J. Myers
How have governments responded to the recent events in Libya, Syria, Egypt, and other countries such as Bahrain? Ken Roth of Human Rights Watch gives a masterly analysis of international reactions, including those of the U.S., France, India, China, Russia, Turkey, and the Arab League.