LAU faculty members offer Lebanese perspective at U.S. conference
LAU faculty promoted scholarship on the study of Lebanon, at the 43rd annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association held in Boston, Massachusetts.
From left: Dr. Elise Salem, vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Management, Richard Rumsey, vice president for University Advancement; and Dr. Samira Aghacy, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences in Beirut, with an attendee at the reception organized by LAU's New York Office as part of the MESA '09 conference.
From left: Dr. Mimi Jeha, director of LAU's Summer Institute for Intensive Arabic Language and Culture, and Joanna Helou from the New York office, at the LAU booth set up during the MESA '09 book exhibit.
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Boston — A group of LAU political science faculty exemplified scholarship by holding a panel on the study of Lebanon from a Lebanese perspective, at the 43rd annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association held in Boston, Massachusetts, last month.
Dr. Bassel Salloukh, Dr. Ohannes Geukjian and Dr. Sami Baroudi, who is also the assistant provost for Faculty Affairs, were three of the four members of a panel of academics, organized by Salloukh, who held a discussion entitled “External Intervention, Civil Peace, and Post-Syria Lebanon” on November 23, as part of the four-day MESA ‘09 annual meeting.
The panel explored the legacy of external intervention in post-Syria Lebanon since 2005, and presented the various impacts of external intervention on domestic and foreign politics in the country since then.
“It was the best panel at the MESA [meeting] on Lebanon,” says Baroudi. “It alerted the audience that there have been many readings on Lebanon since 2005.”
He adds: “Clearly the events of September 11, 2001 have heightened interest around the world in the Middle East. And regardless of the reasons of the more intensive interest in the region, we like that there are more scholars interested in the region — not just in politics, but also in culture and language.”
Salloukh says the panel attracted a full audience and was well-received. “It was a way for us to get our ideas heard over there, to interact with colleagues and experts from North America, and to exchange views about what is going on in Lebanon,” he says. “In addition it was an opportunity for LAU to gain visibility in North America and to show that serious work on Lebanon is being done at LAU.”
Equally significant were the achievements of other LAU faculty at the MESA annual meeting, including Dr. Elise Salem, vice president for Student Development and Enrollment Management, who chaired another panel at the event, and Dr. Samira Aghacy, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences in Beirut and professor of English and comparative literature, who launched her new book, Masculine Identity in the Fiction of the Arab East Since 1967.
“The book just came out 10 days ago — The publishers are very happy with it. Now I’m waiting for the reaction to the book, and for reviews to come out,” says Aghacy.
“The conference was interesting because we had a panel on Lebanon, Dr. Aghacy launched her book, and we held a reception [with the help of LAU’s New York Office] — all of which were well-received,” says Salloukh.
“It was good to show that there’s a lot of scholarship at LAU,” Salloukh adds. “It’s our responsibility to take the message outside. The best way to do it is with publications but you can also do it with conferences.”
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