Upcoming Events: Middle East

Fri 4/28

Image - Trump

Trump and the Middle East

Date: Fri, April 28, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Trump policies in the Middle East

Alon Sachar, Middle East Peace Advisor; Co-author, A Path to Peace
Eddy Simonian, Master's in International Studies
Maher Kalaji, Ph.D. in Chemistry
Banafsheh Keynoush, Ph.D., Middle East Scholar; Author, Saudi Arabia and Iran: Friends or Foes—Moderator

A distinguished panel will discuss their perspectives on Donald Trump's presidency as well as policies and actions which may lead to peace or further conflict in the region. Alon Sachar has worked to advance Middle East peace under two U.S. administrations and cowrote A Path to Peace (with Senator George Mitchell). Maher Kalaji is a frequent contributor to our Middle East forum, and Eddy Simonian, an Assyrian Christian, wrote his master's thesis on Lebanon's sectarian conflict. Along with moderator Banafsheh Keynoush, the three panelists will present their perspectives on the potential effects of Trump’s words and actions in the Middle East.

Fri 5/5

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The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason

Date: Fri, May 05, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Modern Islam

Christopher de Bellaigue, M.A. in Oriental Studies, Cambridge; Journalist; Author, The Islamic Enlightenment; Contributor, The New Yorker; Former Tehran Correspondent, The Economist
Jonathan Curiel, Journalist; Author, Al' America: Travels Through America’s Arab and Islamic Roots—Moderator 

Christopher de Bellaigue, who has covered the Middle East since 1996, will discuss his latest book, The Islamic Enlightenment, which discusses Islamic history as it relates to the modern world. De Bellaigue posits that, contrary to popular opinion, remarkable men and women from across the Muslim world have welcomed modern ideals and practices.

Fri 5/19

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Resolving Afghanistan: Crafting a Sensible U.S. Approach

Date: Fri, May 19, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
The ongoing struggle in Afghanistan

Anthony Alfidi, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Reserve; Private Investor

Intelligence officer Anthony Alfidi has performed military duty in South Korea, Kuwait, Germany, Iraq and Afghanistan. He will give his personal view of why U.S. policy has not achieved peace in Afghanistan and how the new administration should pursue reforms.

Mon 5/22

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Middle East Forum Discussion

Date: Mon, May 22, 2017
Time: 5:30 PM
Discussion group

The Middle East Forum discussion group—which primarily covers the Middle East, North Africa and Afghanistan—has been meeting monthly for nine years. We are not a debate group. Each month we discuss timely, cultural subjects in a civil atmosphere with respect for others and their opinions.

Fri 6/2

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Israel and India: 25 Years of Diplomatic Relations

Date: Fri, June 02, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Israel and India: collaboration and partnership

Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok, India's Consul General, San Francisco
Andy David, Israel's Consul General, Pacific Northwest

Consul General Andy David and Ambassador Venkatesan Ashok will speak together in celebration of Israel and India’s 25 years of diplomatic relations and their centuries-long historical and cultural connections. The two diplomats will discuss the growing partnership and collaboration between their two countries as well as shared interests and mutual goals for the future. 

Mon 6/19

Image - Manal al-Sharif

Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman's Awakening

Date: Mon, June 19, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Women's right to drive

Manal al-Sharif, B.S., Computer Science; Women's Rights Activist

This program is part of our Good Lit series, underwritten by the Bernard Osher Foundation.

Manal al-Sharif, who was named one of Times' 100 most influential people in 2012 and received the Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent, went from being a niqab-wearing conservative to one of the most eminent voices of the women's rights movement in the Middle East. Although she was the first woman to work in the information security division of Armco, she was forbidden to drive off campus. In 2011, when she learned that the driving ban for women was custom and not law, al-Sharif became the face of the Women2Drive movement. She was imprisoned after posting a video of herself driving. Al-Sharif will describe her fascinating story and provide an enlightened look at the current state of women in Saudi society.

Fri 6/30

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A Brighter Day

Date: Fri, June 30, 2017
Time: 12:00 PM
Helping teenagers who are suffering from depression

Elliot Kallen, Financial Accountant; Wealth Manager; Founder, A Brighter Day
Patrick O'Reilly, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist; Assistant Clinical Professor, UC San Francisco; Chair, Member-Led Psychology Forum—Moderator

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death among teens in the U.S. In this program, Elliot Kallen, who founded A Brighter Day in honor of his late son, Jake, and Dr. Patrick O'Reilly, who is a clinical psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders, will discuss depression and teen suicide. A Brighter Day reaches out to teens suffering from depression and other related issues while allowing them to maintain their dignity. The charity connects teens to the resources they need, showcasing local bands in a way that helps teens learn about depression and its risk factors.

Thu 7/13

Image - Subhi Nahas

Refugees Without Refuge: Stories of LGBTQ Refugees Stranded in the Middle East

Date: Thu, July 13, 2017
Time: 6:00 PM
Advocating for LGBTQ refugees

Subhi Nahas, Human Rights Activist; Founder/Board Chair, Spectra Project
Arthur Slepian, Executive Director, A Wider Bridge—Moderator

Subhi Nahas, founder and board chair of Spectra Project and a Syrian refugee who gained asylum in the U.S. in 2015, will describe his experiences as a refugee as well as his efforts to help others and advocate for minorities of different sexual orientations and genders in the Middle East and North Africa. While many organizations assist refugees worldwide, only one organization supports the extremely vulnerable group of refugees from the Middle East and North Africa regions who are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender and who remain in countries of transit, unsure of when and if they will be resettled. Nahas has been recognized by the California State Assembly, testified at the first United Nations assembly on LGBTQ rights and has received numerous prestigious awards.