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2010 Middle East Lecture Series at U Explores Perspectives on the State of Democracy in the Middle East

Feb. 2, 2010 — The University of Utah‘s Middle East Lecture Series kicks off its 2010 lecture series with four talks examining the emerging patterns of political participation in the Middle East and its impact on the meaning of legitimacy for regimes and citizens in the region.

The series, titled “Elections & Legitimacy in the Middle East: Perspectives on the State of Democracy in the Middle East,” will take place Feb. through April, 2010 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. in the Carolyn Tanner Irish Humanitarian Building auditorium, room 109 and are free and open to the public. See below for a complete schedule.

“Although democracy has remained rare in the Middle East, elections have played a considerable role as devices of legitimacy and international recognition,” says Bahman Baktiari, director of the Middle East Center. “Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Iran and Egypt have held or are scheduled to hold elections in 2009-2010.”

Baktiari adds that since the 1980s, there has been renewed political participation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and in authoritarian regimes more generally. Voters have gone to the polls, political parties (re)opened their offices, non- governmental organizations (NGOs) mushroomed and vigorous debates over political and economic reform have emerged in Iran, Lebanon, Egypt, Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey, and Israel. Scholars and policymakers have tried to make sense of the impact of elections in Middle Eastern countries on democratization, citizenship and civil society.

Titles and speakers include:

Thursday, February 11

“Elections & Legitimacy in the Middle East”

Michael Hudson, professor of international relations, Georgetown University.

Hudson is a founding member and former director of Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies. Among his publications are Arab Politics: The Search for Legitimacy, The Precarious Republic: Political Modernization in Lebanon, The World Handbook of Political and Social Indicators, which he co-authored and most recently he was an editor and contributor to Middle East Dilemma: The Politics and Economics of Arab Integration. He holds a Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. His fields of interest include U.S. Middle East policy, Gulf security, the Arab-Israeli conflict, Palestinian politics, Lebanon, political reform in the Arab world and new media and information technologies in the Middle East

Thursday, March 11

“Expectations vs. Reality: The Iraqi Elections of 2010”

Ali Allawi, minister of finance in Iraq’s transitional government to May 2006

Allawi is the author of The Crisis of Islamic Civilization and The Occupation of Iraq which was voted in the best top ten non-fiction books by the Washington Post. In April 2004, he was appointed to be Iraq’s first post-war civilian minister of defense. In January 2005, he was elected to Iraq’s Transitional National Assembly as a member of the United Iraqi Alliance. In April, 2005, he was appointed to be the minister of finance in the transitional government headed by Ibrahim al-Jaffari. He held that post until May 2006 when he returned to private life. Allawi earned his bachelors in civil engineering from MIT in 1968 and continued his postgraduate studies at the London School of Economics in regional planning. He went on to obtain an MBA from Harvard University in 1971.

Thursday, April 1

“Beyond Karzai’s Re-election”

Andrew Garfield, vice president of Glevum Associates.

Garfield is the vice president of Glevum Associates, a Washington, D.C.-based strategic communications company and is currently a senior fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. He served in both the British military and as a senior civilian intelligence officer, finishing his government service in 2001 as a senior policy adviser in the UK Ministry of Defense. He has extensive information operations (IO) and psychological operations experience, including becoming the UK Defense Intelligence Staff’s first IO Staff Officer in the mid 1990’s and performing IO-related research and operations for the Department of Defense in the United States since 2002.

Thursday, April 15

“Post-election Crisis’ Impact on the Clerical Establishment in Iran”

Babak Rahimi, assistant professor of Iranian and Islamic studies, University of California at San Diego.

Rahimi has written numerous articles on culture, religion and politics and regularly writes on contemporary Iraqi and Iranian politics. He has been the recipient of fellowships from the national endowment for the Humanities and Jean Monnet Fellowship at the European University Institute and was a senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C., where he conducted research on the institutional contribution of Shi’i political organizations in the creation of a vibrant civil society in post-Baathist Iraq. Rahimi’s current research project is on the religious cultural life of the Iranian port-city of Busher, southern Iran. He earned his bachelor’s from University of California at San Diego and received his doctorate from the European University Institute in Florence, Italy in October 2004.

The Middle East Lecture Series is organized by the Middle East Center at the University of Utah, in collaboration with the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement and the College of the Humanities. For more information on the upcoming lectures or on the Middle East Center at the University of Utah, contact Delva Hommes 801-581-4239 or or visit