Dinner Talk Centre for Lebanese Studies

As part of a continuing series of events to mark our 30th anniversary, the Centre for Lebanese Studies, together with the European Council on Foreign Relations’s MENA programme, are delighted to invite you to an interactive dinner talk with Ambassador Tom Fletcher on Thursday 10th December 2015 at 7:30 for 8PM.  The event will be held in the private dining room The Gallery at the Bluebird Club, 350 King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 5UU.  

Ambassador Fletcher, who served as HM’s envoy to Lebanon from 2011 until the summer of 2015, and prior to that was Prime Minister David Cameron’s Private Secretary for Foreign Affairs, will offer his perspective on current events in the Middle East, especially as they relate to Lebanon.  His time in Lebanon coincided with the divisions in the country and its role in geopolitical rivalries being played out across a swathe of the region and notably neighbouring countries. He will look at how these crises continue to play out in the region and in Lebanon.

Ambassador Fletcher was a unique and mould-breaking Ambassador, who calls himself the Naked Diplomat, a title that suggests a new brand of 21st century statecraft: authentic, transparent, flexible and engaged.  He used methods of communication and digital diplomacy that broke with tradition, and which proved extremely popular, high-profile and effective.   He was a prolific user of social media during his time in Lebanon, posting 10,000 tweets, almost 6 or 7 a day. These drew in approximately 48,000 followers, almost twice as many as the UK’s Foreign Secretary.  He was also an active blogger, and his final post on 31 July, A Farewell to Lebanon, So…Yalla Bye, went viral, and attracted enormous attention for its humour and candour.


مقهى السوسيولوجيا الشهري: النقابات في لبنان، حراك وطني واجتماعي؟

يسر مركز الدراسات اللبنانية والجامعة الامريكية في بيروت

قسم العلوم الاجتماعية

دعوتكم لحضور مقهى السوسيولوجيا الشهري

موضوع الشهر

النقابات في لبنان: حراك وطني واجتماعي؟

حنا غريب غسان صليبي

تشرين الثاني ٢٩ الساعة السادسة المكان: قهوة ة في شارع الحمراء

المحاضرة في اللغة العربية

The Centre for Lebanese Studies and the American University in Beirut,

Department of Sociology, Anthropology & Media Studies

cordially invites you to the monthly Sociology Cafe to discuss:

The trade-unions in Lebanon: a national and social movement?

Tuesday 29 October 6.00 Ta Marbouta Cafe, Hamra Street.

with Hanna Gharib and Ghassan Slaibi

The lecture is in Arabic.

Jeremy Bowen

The talk was about Bowen’s book on the Arab-Israeli 1967 war and his perspective on the current situation. Jeremy Bowen has been Special Correspondent for BBC news since March 2003. He was previously the BBC ME Correspondent and has covered conflicts in over 70 countries throughout the world. Jeremy has won a number of awards including best News Correspondent and best Breaking News report for his coverage on the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. His book on the Arab-Israeli 1967 war is entitled ‘Six Days’, published by Simon & Shuster.

Sir Marrack Goulding

Talk entitled ‘The events of September 11th and the consequences’. The late Sir Marrack Goulding was Warden of St Antony’s College and former UN Under Secretary General.

Michael Binyon

Talk entitled ‘The Middle East peace process: where do we go from here’. Mr. Michael Binyon is leader writer for the Times and former Diplomatic correspondent for the Times from 1991-2000.

Rosemary Hollis

Talk entitled ‘Means versus ends: how to combat terrorism in the Middle East’. Dr Rosemary Hollis is head of the Middle East Programme at the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House).

H.E. Mr. Afif Safieh

Talk entitled ‘The Middle East Peace Process: From breakthrough to breakdown’. Mr Afif Safieh was head of the Palestinian diplomatic delegation to the United Kingdom, the US and Russia.

Avi Shlaim

Talk entitled ‘The Palestinian-Israeli conflict: what next?’. Avi Shlaim is Professor of International Relations at St Antony’s College, Oxford University and the author of the highly acclaimed book ‘The Iron Wall: Israel and the Arab World’ (Penguin, 2000). He is also a frequent contributor to newspapers (most recently the International Herald Tribune and the Guardian) and a commentator on radio and television on Middle Eastern affairs.

Chibli Mallat

Talk entitled ‘War crimes and the future of the Middle East: building on International Law’. Mr. Mallat is a lawyer at the Beirut bar and holds the Jean Monnet Chair in European Law at St Joseph’s University in Lebanon. He is also Amnesty International’s lawyer for the Middle East Regional Office which he helped establish in 2001 in Beirut. Mr Mallat has been involved in a number of international business and criminal cases, including the world famous case against Ariel Sharon in the Belgian courts, where he represents 28 Lebanese and Palestinian victims of the Sabra and Chatila massacres. Prior to that, Dr Mallat also taught for a decade at the University of London (SOAS), where he held the tenured Lectureship in Islamic Law and was the Director of the Center for Islamic and Middle Eastern Laws. He has appeared on several TV and radio shows worldwide and has published a number of books and articles.

Mai Yamani

Talk entitled ‘The United States and the Arabs -friendly regimes and angry populations’. Dr Yamani is a specialist in social, political and human rights issues in the Arab states, as well as on women and Islam. She is currently Associate Fellow in the Middle East Programme of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and also an Associate at the Centre for Islamic and Middle East Law at the School for Oriental and African Studies. Dr Yamani is most recently the author of the highly praised Changed Identities, the challenge of the new generation in Saudi Arabia (RIIA, 2000), and is a frequent commentator on TV on Middle Eastern affairs.

Fred Halliday

Talk entitled ‘September 11 and the War on Terrorism: consequences for US policy in the region, including Iraq’. Mr. Halliday is Professor of International Relations at the London School of Economics and Political Science since 1983. He is a former chairman of the Research Committee of the Royal Institute of International Affairs and is a leading authority on Middle Eastern Affairs. He has lectured widely on superpower relations, development issues, the Middle East and international relations. His many books include ‘Arabia without Sultans’ (1976), ‘Iran: Dictatorship and development’ (1978), ‘Islam and the Myth of Confrontations’ (1995) and last year’s best-seller ‘Two hours that shook the world’, in which he explores the repercussions of the Sept 11 terrorist attacks in the US and the subsequent ‘war on terrorism’. He was also a prolific broadcaster, with regular appearances on CNN, the BBC, etc.

Samir Khalaf

Talk entitled ‘Civil and uncivil violence in Lebanon: a discussion on political violence and post-war reconstruction and rehabilitation’. Samir Khalaf is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Center for Behavioral Research at the American University of Beirut. Probably Lebanon’s best-known Sociologist, Professor Khalaf has also held academic appointments at Princeton, as a Fulbright Scholar and visiting Professor of Sociology as well as Harvard, MIT and New York University. He is the recipient of several international fellowships and research awards. He is the author of numerous books including most notably, Lebanon’s Predicament (Columbia 1987), Beirut Reclaimed, Reflections on Urban Design and the Restoration of Civility (An Nahar 1994), Cultural Resistance, Global and Local Encounters in the Middle East (Saqi Books 2001). His latest book, Civil and Uncivil Violence was published by Columbia University Press.

Sir Marrack Goulding

Talk entitled ‘The future role of UN peacekeeping in South Lebanon post the Israeli withdrawal, and the challenges that lie ahead for the UN both in Lebanon and the Middle East’. The late Sir was Warden at St Antony’s College, Oxford University, and former Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs and Peace-keeping Operations at the United Nations from 1986 to 1996, where he was responsible for the UN’s peace-keeping operations involving 55,000 staff in 13 countries with a budget of $2.7bn. Sir Marrack, a highly acclaimed book Peacemonger (publisher, John Murray 2002), an account of his days at the UN, during which time he undertook several delicate missions on behalf of the Secretary General to Lebanon and the Middle East.

H.E. Mr. Richard Murphy

Talk entitled ‘Current events in the Middle East: the impending war against Iraq and prospects for US-Arab relations’. Former US Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East and South Asia from 1983 to 1989 in the Reagan administration, and also served as US Ambassador to Syria (1974 to 1978), Saudi Arabia and the Philippines. Mr Murphy held the Hasib Sabbagh Chair at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York after 32 years in the US State Department.

H.E. Mr. Ghassan Tueni

Talk entitled ‘The current crisis in the Middle East, the deterioration in US-Arab relations and the implications for Lebanon and the region’. Mr Tueni is one of Lebanon’s foremost statesmen and political writers. He is also the publisher and editor of Lebanon’s An-Nahar, one of the Arab world’s most credible and authoritative daily newspapers (established in 1933). Mr Tueni, who lives in Lebanon, is a former Member of Parliament and Cabinet Minister and was also Lebanon’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations in the late seventies and early eighties.

Charles Glass

Talk entitled ‘The current situation in the Middle East, as the region braces itself for a potential new war’. Glass, the world famous veteran journalist and reporter lived in Lebanon from 1972 to 1976 and again from 1983 to the end of 1984, was the Chief Middle East correspondent for ABC News from 1983 to 1993, and is a regular contributor to the Spectator, the Guardian, the Observer, the New Statesman and the Evening Standard. He is the author of ‘Tribes with Flags’ and ‘Money for Old Rope’, both Picador books.

William Polk

Talk entitled ‘The Bush Doctrine and Its Implications for US Foreign Policy’. Mr Polk was a member of the Policy Planning Council of the US Department of State. He then became Professor of History and founding Director of the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago, and the President of the Adlai Stevenson Institute of International Affairs. He is also the author of a number of books on International Affairs including ‘The United States and the Arab World’ and ‘The Opening of South Lebanon’.

H.E. Mr. Nassib Lahoud

Talk entitled ‘An assessment of economic and political prospects for Lebanon in the current regional climate’. Mr Lahoud is a former Ambassador to the United States, has served in the Lebanese Parliament as an MP for the Metn region, and was a Member of the Foreign Affairs, Budget and Finance Committees. In 2001, Mr Lahoud co-founded and became Chairman of the Movement for Democratic Renewal, a leading political group in the country.

Anton La Guardia

Talk entitled ‘The upcoming Israeli elections and the implications for the region’. Mr La Guardia is Diplomatic Editor of the Daily Telegraph, and formerly their Middle East correspondent based in Jerusalem between 1990 and 1998. He is also author of the best selling and highly acclaimed book ‘Holy Land, Unholy war: Israelis and Palestinians’ (John Murray, 2001).

David Ignatius

A talk entitled ‘Iraq and the Arab Future’. David Ignatius writes a twice-weekly column on global politics, economics and international affairs for the Washington Post. He is a former executive editor of the Herald Tribune and was foreign editor of the Washington Post (1990-1992) supervising the paper’s Pulitzer Prize winning coverage of the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Between 1980 and 1986 Ignatius was diplomatic editor and ME correspondent of the Wall Street Journal covering wars in Lebanon and Iraq. Ignatius is also a highly acclaimed novelist having written five novels, including ‘Agents of Innocence'(1987).

Claude Doumet Serhal (CBE)

Talk entitled ‘The British Museum Excavations Project in Saida’. In a rare departure from our normal focus on current events and the politics of the Middle East, we were delighted to welcome Claude Doumet Serhal, one of Lebanon’s foremost archaeologists. She is a special assistant to the British Museum and since 1998 is the Director of the British Museum excavations project in Saida, Lebanon. She is also an Honorary Research Fellow at University College London, and an associate member of the Research Institute for ancient Semitic Studies at the College de France. She is the founder and editor of the magazine ‘Archaeology and History in Lebanon’ and has published several articles on the excavations at Saida. Her talk focused on the groundbreaking discoveries at Saida which reveal much new information on the history of the city from 4,000 to 2,000 BC and its Phoenician roots. The Director of the British Museum, Dr. Neil McGregor, described the Saida project as ‘one of the most important archaeological missions currently being undertaken by the British Museum anywhere in the world’.

H.E. Mr. Marwan Hamadeh

Talk entitled ‘The impact of the current situation in the Middle East on Lebanon and prospects for the country’s economic recovery in 2003’. Marwan Hamadeh, Former Minister for the Displaced, and Member of Parliament is a former journalist and a highly respected and articulate politician.

Tim Llewellyn

Talk entitled ‘The Battens Come Down: How the Institutional Media Stifle Middle East Reporting’. Tim Llewellyn was the BBC Middle East correspondent based in Beirut from 1976 to 1980 and in Nicosia from 1987 to 1992. He has covered all the major stories in the Middle East in the past quarter century, including the Lebanese civil war, the Palestinian question, the Iraq-Iran war, the Iranian revolution and the Gulf War. Tim was the first reporter to break the news of the massacre at Sabra and Chatila in 1982. He is now a freelance writer and broadcaster on Middle East Affairs, living in London and contributes regularly to the Guardian. Tim is also a member of the Executive Committee of the UK-based Council for the Advancement of Arab British Understanding (CAABU). Tim offered his perspective on the current situation in the Middle East with a focus on how the Western media in particular covers the news.

H.E. Sir David Gore-Booth

Talk entitled ‘The Future of British- Arab Relations in Light of Current Events’. Sir David Gore-Booth, KCMG, KCVO was a distinguished diplomat who served as UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia and India and was also head of the Middle East and North Africa Department at the Foreign Office.

Yezid Sayigh

Talk entitled ‘What Future for the Palestinian Authority?’. Yezid Sayigh is Academic Director of the Cambridge Programme for Security in International Society and a Teaching Fellow in the Politics and History of the Modern Middle East, Centre of International Studies, University of Cambridge. He is also a consulting Senior Fellow for the Middle East at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (London). Previously he was an advisor to the Palestinian delegation to the bilateral peace talks with Israel in Washington DC in 1991-93, and a senior negotiator in the peace talks leading to the Gaza Strip and Jericho Area Implementation Agreement signed in Cairo on 4 May 1994. In 1999 Sayigh co-authored (with Khalil Shikaki) the ‘Report of the Independent Task Force on Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions’ for the Council on Foreign Relations (New York). His academic research focused on the relationship between religion and nationalism (especially Islam and Arab nationalism) in the context of globalisation.

Alan George

Talk entitled ‘Syria: Friend or Foe of the West?’. Dr. Alan George, freelancer and broadcaster, has been closely involved with the Middle East since 1967. His first degree was from Oxford and his MA and PhD (on Syria) were from Durham. He frequently commentates on Middle East affairs on TV and radio. He is a former Assistant Director of CAABU and former Head of Research of the Arab-British Chamber of Commerce. He recently published a book entitled ‘Syria: Neither Bread nor Freedom’ (Zed Books April 2003).

Khalil Shikaki

Talk entitled ‘The Middle East Road Map: Are the Parties Ready for Peace?’. Dr. Khalil Shikaki, an Associate Professor of Political Science and Director of the Palestinian Centre for Policy and Survey Research (Ramallah) Dr. Shikaki took his Ph.D. from Columbia University and taught at several universities including Bir Zeit, Al Najah National University. He spent the summer of 2002 as a visiting fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC. In 1998-1999 he and Dr. Yezid Sayegh led a group of experts on Palestinian institution building and published their findings in a Council on Foreign Relations report called ‘Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions’. Dr. Shikaki has conducted more than 90 polls among Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza strip. His latest poll included three comprehensive surveys among Palestinian refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, Jordan and Lebanon and his most recent publication is ‘The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process: Oslo and the lessons of Failure’ (Sussex Academic Press, 2002).

Ghada Karmi

Talk entitled ‘Is A Two-State Solution Still Possible?’. Ghada, a leading Palestinian activist, academic, writer and a research Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter. She also held posts at the Royal Institute of International Affairs, London and at the School of Oriental and African Studies. She was born in Jerusalem but had to leave with her family in 1948. She qualified in medicine from Bristol University and London University. She has been involved in political lobbying for the Palestine cause for many years and her books include ‘Jerusalem Today: What Future for the Peace Process?’ and ‘The Palestine Exodus 1948-1998’. Her most recent book is a memoir entitled ‘In Search of Fatima: a Palestinian Story’ (Verso Press, 2002) which has been widely acclaimed for its originality and style.

H.E. Mr. Clovis Maksoud

Talk entitled ‘Lebanon, the Arabs, and the Emerging Global Scenarios’. Ambassador Clovis Maksoud, Professor of International Relations and Director of the Centre for the Global South at the American University in Washington DC. Dr. Maksoud, a Lebanese national, was the League of Arab States Chief Representative to India and South East Asia from 1961 to 1965 and, from 1979 to 1990, its Chief Representative to the United Nations. He resigned from the Arab League in 1990 following the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. From 1967 to 1979 he had served as Senior Editor of Al-Ahram in Egypt and then was Chief Editor of Al Nahar Weekly in Lebanon. Dr.Maksoud was also a member of the team of leading Arab intellectuals which produced in 2002 the groundbreaking and controversial Arab Human Development Report sponsored by UNDP and the Arab Fund for Economic and Social Development.

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

A talk entitled ‘The Relationship between Islam and the West post September 11th’. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown is a senior researcher at the Foreign Policy Centre, a leading independent think tank in the UK that was launched in 1998 by Tony Blair and the then Foreign Minister Robin Cook. She writes a weekly column for the Independent newspaper and is a leading commentator on human rights, multiculturalism and race. She also writes regularly for the Guardian and the New Statesman and broadcasts on radio and television. She has written numerous books including ‘No Place Like Home’, an autobiographical account of her life as an Asian in Uganda. Her talk concentrated on the relationship between Islam and the West especially post September 11th.

Henry Siegman

Mr. Siegman is Senior Fellow and Director of the US-Middle East Center at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. He is a leading expert on the Middle East, Arab-Israeli relations and US Middle East policy. He was previously Executive Director of the American Jewish Congress from 1978-1994. He is a frequent contributor to the New York Times, the Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, Al-Hayat, Al-Ahram, the Nation and the Jerusalem Post. Mr. Siegman offered his perspective on future prospects for peace between Israel and the Palestinians.

Robert Mabro

A talk entitled ‘Oil: A Curse for the Arabs?’ given by Robert Mabro, a fellow of St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, the Director of the Oxford Institute for Energy Studies and a Senior Research Officer in the economics of the Middle East at Oxford.

H.E. Mr. Issam Fares

‘Lebanon and the Region: The Challenges’. This dinner talk celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the Centre for Lebanese Studies under the patronage of H.E. Mr. Issam Fares, Deputy Prime Minister of Lebanon, who was the guest of honour and keynote speaker.

Fiona Gilmore

Talk entitled ‘Building the Lebanon Brand’. Fiona Gilmore is the founding partner of Acanchi, a London based independent consultancy which specialises in strategy development for country brands. During a career spanning 25 years, she has advised on communications, strategy, brand positioning, architecture, innovation, migration, internal communication and identity for global leaders such as Vodafone, Unilever, and Armani, as well as a selection of destinations such as Hong Kong, England, and currently Lebanon and Zambia. Fiona has had extensive experience working in China and the region where, among other activities, she has advised the Hong Kong government on the communications strategy for the world’s largest transport infrastructure programme (including the new Hong Kong airport) and how to develop a brand strategy for the country, post handover. Her talk focused on the findings from a recent UNDP project entitled Leveraging the Social and Economic Agenda to building the Lebanon Brand. Fiona is the author of three books: ‘Brand Warriors’, ‘Warriors on the High Wire’ and ‘Brand Warriors China’.

Philip Salem

Talk entitled ‘The Lebanese abroad and how they can help the new Lebanon’. Dr. Philip Salem, the world renowned oncologist and cancer researcher, studied medicine at the American University of Beirut and began his career in cancer medicine in 1968 at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Centre in New York. Back in Lebanon in 1971 he joined the AUB faculty and established the first fellowship training programs in cancer in the Middle East and the first cancer Registry in Lebanon. He emigrated to the US in 1986 where he joined the M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre in Houston. His pioneering work and outstanding contribution to cancer research, particularly in respect of cancers which are unique to some Mediterranean countries and the Arab World, have been recognised worldwide. He was appointed to several advisory committees to the White House on health care issues during the Administration of George Bush Sr. In 1991 he became Director of the Cancer Research Programme at St. Luke’s Episcopal Hospital, Texas Medical Centre in Houston.

Michael R. Kerr

An evaluation of, comparing and contrasting, the power sharing agreements that were used to regulate the ethno-national conflicts at different times in both divided societies in Northern Ireland, the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement and the Good Friday Agreement of 1998, and in Lebanon the 1943 National Pact and the 1989 Ta’if Accords. Michael R. Kerr is the author of ‘Imposing Power Sharing: Conflict and Coexistence in Northern Ireland and Lebanon’ and ‘Transforming Unionism: David Trimble and the 2005 General Election’. His perspective of considering external factors, as opposed to conventional internal factors, as the key for reaching peace and making it work is of special relevance especially when power sharing is the main issue in Iraq. Michael Kerr is Tutorial fellow in the London School of Economics’ International History Department and Visiting Lecturer in its Government Department where he finished his PhD in 2003. He also worked from 1999 to 2005 for former Ulster Unionist Leader David Trimble at Westminster whilst teaching at the LSE and SOAS.

H.E. Mr. Najib Mikati

Former Prime Minister of Lebanon and MP for Tripoli, Najib Mikati, spoke about the present situation in Lebanon and the Near East.

Chibli Mallat

Talk entitled ‘The future of Lebanon’. Chibli Mallat is a Professor of Law at St. Joseph University, a senior fellow at Yale Law School, and principal partner at Mallat Law Offices in Beirut. Chibli was an active member of the Cedar Revolution in February 2005 and is a strong supporter of voting rights for Lebanese abroad. He spearheaded the constitutional opposition to the extension of President Lahoud’s mandate in 1998 and 2004. As human rights advocate Chibli co-founded and coordinated organsations for democracy and judicial accountability in mass crimes in Iraq, and conducted judicial action leading to the indictment of Qaddafi for the disappearance of Imam Moussa Sadr in Libya. He won his case in the Belgian Courts against Ariel Sharon in 2001 before it was stopped by retroactive legislation. Chibli served as Director of the Centre for Islamic and Middle Eastern Law at the Universithy of London. He was a candidate to the Presidency of Lebanon.

Ali Allawi

Talk entitled ‘Democracy and Sectarianism: lessons from the Iraqi Experience’: How setting out the principles of a democratic government are sometimes in contradiction with the political realities on the ground and may require a more imaginative form of political system. A parallel was drawn with Lebanon which, like Iraq, suffers from sectarianism and a form of democratic government which does not often reflect the political realities. Dr. Allawi is Former Minister of Trade, Defence and Finance in several Iraqi governments in the period 2003-2006, and a m ember of the elected Transitional National Assembly. He is a graduate of MIT, LSE and the Harvard Business School, and has worked in development (with the World Bank group) as well as investment finance.

H.E. Mr. Sami Khiyami

Talk entitled ‘The Future Role of Syria in the Region’. HE Mr. Sami Khiyami, Ambassador of Syria to the Court of St. James, spoke about The Future Role of Syria in the Region. In view of the aftermath of the Iraq invasion and in view of its relationship with Iran and Lebanon, Syria is called upon to play a very important role in the region in the near future. Dr. Khiyami touched upon one or two aspects of this role both in relation to Iraq and Lebanon. Dr. Khiyami is an electronics engineer by profession who received his BE in Electrical Engineering from the American University of Beirut and a PhD in Electronics and Information Technology from the University of Claude Bernard in Lyon, France. He is co-founder and a member of the board of the Syrian Computer Society. He has taught Computer Engineering and Electronic Measurements at the Faculty of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering of Damascus University, and from 1986-1995 was Head of the Electronics Department, Chief Researcher and then Director of Research at the Higher Institute of Applied Science and Technology in Damascus. He has been a consultant to the Syrian government in the field of electronics and IT and played a major role in the introduction of microprocessor design techniques in the electronic industry in Syria.

Alex Klaushofer

Talk entitled ‘Lebanon Under Western Eyes’. Alex discussed the Lebanon that emerged from her research trips and conversations with Lebanese of all communities and beliefs over the past three years. In particular she shared her observations about Lebanon’s special status as the quintessentially diverse, multi-confessional country of the Middle East, the evolving nature of Lebanese identity and how far the Lebanon she discovered matches with perceptions of the country in Britain. Alex (Ms) Klaushofer is a London based journalist writing on social affairs and politics in Britain and the Middle East. Her work has appeared in many papers and magazines including the Guardian, the Observer, and the Daily Telegraph along with many contributions to the BBC. Alex Klaushofer graduated with an English degree from St. Hugh’s College, Oxford, and did her PhD in philosophy at Essex University. She taught in higher and further education for several years but it was in 1998, when she spent a summer as volunteer English teacher in a West Bank refugee camp, that she realised that the Middle East is (probably) the most interesting place in the world. She has been visiting the region ever since, as a writer and journalist and as Christian Aid’s Middle East Communications Manager. Her recently published book ‘Paradise Divided: A Portrait of Lebanon’, which is part travel narrative and part reportage, chronicles Lebanon’s attempts to maintain a fragile peace after its long civil war and last summer’s conflict with Israel. Charles Glass said about the book: The Lebanese in all their complexity, wonder, deceit and kindness shine through this delightful book.

Sofia Shwayri

Talk entitled ‘Beirut: the City of Recurring Conflicts’. Since October 2004 Beirut has been rocked by a number of explosions in hitherto relatively safe districts which have targeted politicians, journalists and civilians. This mobile violence was coupled in the summer of 2006 by a war which damaged many of the roads and bridges connecting the various governorates of Lebanon. Damage to Beirut’s urban landscape was further extended by the occupation of protestors of the Central District and ghettoisation and securitisation of whole neighbourhoods. Such activities have reversed 15 years of reconcstruction and stability. Does this process of destruction mark the beginning of a new round of conflict or is Beirut experiencing a new form of violence comparable to New York on 11 September 2001, Madrid on 11 March 2003, and London on 7 July 2005? Sofia Shwayri, a Visiting Fellow in Lebanese Studies at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, earned her BA and MA in Archaeology at the American University of Beirut, and her Ph.D. in architecture from the University of California, Berkley (2003). She worked as a Research Fellow and Lecturer in the Department of City and Regional Planning at Berkeley where her research focused on issues of water and violence manifested in a struggle between regional politics and local demands. She also lectured on Cities and Conflict in the Middle East. Previous to her fellowship at St. Antony’s Sofia worked at the University of New York as Assistant Professor/Fellow at the J.M. Draper Interdisciplinary Master’s Program in Humanities and Social Thought.

Avi Shlaim

Talk entitled ‘The Palestinian Triangle: Jordan, Israel and the Palestinians ‘. Largely from the perspective of the past, that of King Hussein.

Ghada Karmi

Talk entitled ’60 Years of Damage: Israel and the Arab World since 1948′. Israel’s establishment in the Arab world sixty years ago impacted most immediately on the Palestinians. But what is often ignored is the extensive damage inflicted on the Arab frontline states and the Arab world in general. Lebanon especially has paid a heavy price for the imposition of Israel on its borders. Ghada Karmi’s new book ‘Married to Another Man: Israel’s dilemma in Palestine’ that deals with this aspect, will discuss the historical damage done to Lebanon and the Arab world by Israel, and how it has shaped the modern Middle East. Born in Jerusalem, Ghada Karmi grew up in England where she became a physician, academic and writer. Currently a research fellow and lecturer at the Institute of Arabic and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, she is the author of the widely acclaimed memoir ‘In Search of Fatima’.

Nassif Hitti

Talk entitled ‘Which Foreign Policy for Lebanon?. The interplay between the domestic and external environments affecting Lebanon’s foreign policy and the major changes in both environments which raise new challenges to foreign policy making’. Drawing on past experience and in light of a pro-active and successful foreign policy as a main source of national security, Dr. Hitti argued for a new foreign policy of positive neutrality and discussed the conditions for developing such policy, its goal formulation and priorities in both its regional and international environments. H.E. Dr. Nassif Hitti, Ambassador, Director of the Arab League Mission in Paris and permanent observer at the UNESCO. Born in Tripoli, Dr. Hitti undertook his BA and MA in political sciences at the American University of Beirut and his doctorate in International Relations at the University of South California. He is the author of ‘The Theory of International Relations’ and ‘The Arab World and the Five Superpowers: futuristic Study’. He publishes a weekly chronicle on international affairs in Al-Bayane(Dubai).

Patrick Seale

Patrick Seale, who is a well known British writer on Middle East Affairs, spoke on the theme of Syrian Geopolitics Under Bashar Al Asad (including Syria-Lebanon relations). Born in Ireland and educated at Oxford University, Patrick worked as a foreign correspondent in many parts of the world for Reuters and The Observer. For some fifteen years, he also ran his own literary agency and art gallery in London. He now lives in Paris and works as a journalist writing weekly articles for several newspapers among which are Al-Hayat (London), Al-Ittihad (Abu Dhabi), Gulf News (Dubai), Saudi Gazette (Jeddah), and Jeune Afrique (Paris). He is the author of several books on the Middle East including ‘The Struggle for Syria’, ‘Asad: The Struggle for the Middle East’, ‘Abu Nidal: A Gun for Hire’. Following the Gulf War of 1991, Patrick helped HRH Prince Khaled bin Sultan (now Deputy Defense Minister of Saudi Arabia) write a volume of memoirs ‘Desert Warrior’. His biography of Riad el-Solh, the first prime minister of independent Lebanon was published in 2009.

David Gardner

David Gardner, Chief Leader Writer and Associate Editor of the Financial Times, gave a talk about ‘Arab Exception’, or why despotism, and Western collusion in preserving it, has held the Arab World back. David joined the Financial Times in 1978 and worked mainly as a foreign correspondent (Spain, Mexico & Central America, Brussels and New Delhi); a regional specialist; or writer on international affairs. He spent much of the previous thirteen years at the FT devoted to the Middle East as roving Middle East editor, based out of Beirut, London and Dubai. He became Chief Leader Writer in 2006. In 2003 David won the David Watt international journalism prize for his writing on the Arab World. He has lectured or given papers at numerous think-tanks, foundations and universities in the UK, Europe, the Middle East and the US. The above topic is at the centre of his forthcoming book on the Arab World ‘Last Chance: An Arab Future in the Balance’ published by I.B. Tauris in May 2009.

Henry Siegman

Talk entitled ‘New Prospects for Peace in the Middle East ?’. He analysed fresh aspects of the Arab Israeli conflict given the recently elected governments both in Israel and the United States. Henry Siegman is president of the US/Middle East Project, an independent policy institute which until 2006 was part of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), and a research professor at the Sir Joseph Hotung Middle East Program of SOAS, University of London. He has been involved in the Middle East peace process for more than thirty years and has published extensively on the subject. He has authored hundreds of articles and editorials which have appeared in newspapers and journals in the United States and throughout the World including the New York Times, Washington Post, the International Herald Tribune, Al Ahram, Al Hayat, Le Monde, and the Financial Times. Major Studies directed by Mr. Siegman at the CFR include ‘Harnessing Trade for Development and Growth in Middle East’ (2002) ‘Strengthening Palestinian Public Institutions’ (1999), ‘US Middle East Policy and the Peace Process’. He also conducted a study for the US Department of State on the implications of ‘viability’ for Palestinian Statehood. Mr. Siegman’s areas of expertise include Arab-Israeli relations, the Middle East peace process, US Middle East policy, interreligious relations, and the American Jewish community.

Eugene Rogan

Dr. Eugene Rogan’s spoke about his recent book ‘The Arabs: A History’ (published by Allen Lane November 2009). Dr. Rogan is a Faculty Fellow and University Lecturer in the Modern History of the Middle East at St. Antony’s College, Oxford, where he serves as Director of the Middle East Centre. The book is an authoritative new history of the Arabs, starting with the Ottoman conquests in the sixteenth century, all the way to the present age of American unipolar power. Dr. Rogan’ received favourable reviews for this work: the Financial Times has called it ‘outstanding’, the Guardian: ‘compelling and compulsively readable’, the Sunday Times says the book offers ‘an admirable account of the Arabs’ experiences’ and finally the Economist says the book is ‘exemplary’ and is written with ‘skill and imagination’. His previous work ‘Frontiers of the State in the Late Ottoman Empire: Transjordan 1850-1921’ was awarded the Albert Hourani Prize. His other areas of interest are , the Palestine War of 1948, and the First World War in the Middle East . Among his other recent publications are ‘Outside In: On the Margins of the Modern Middle East’ (ed.) London: I.B. Tauris 2001; ‘The War for Palestine: Rewriting the History of 1948’ (eds) with Avi Shlaim, Cambridge C.U.P. 2001.

Tim Llwellyn

Tim Llwellyn, whose book ‘Spirit of the Phoenix: Beirut and the Story of Lebanon’, published by I.B. Tauris, spoke about the dangers for Lebanon and about the British media’s continued lack of enterprise and balance in reporting on Lebanon in particular – and its neighbours in general – in covering Hezbollah, the Lebanese South, the Golan Heights, Palestine and the newly fractured relationships between Israel and the US. To Llewellyn, all this spells danger, not compromise or justice. Tim was the BBC’s Middle East Correspondent, based in Beirut in the 70s and early 80s, then in Nicosia between 1987 and 1992. Since then he has been a freelance writer and commentator on Middle East matters for a variety of publications and media outlets, including the BBC. He is a Trustee of the Arab British Centre.