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Visiting Mideast Expert to Discuss Arab Spring Revolutions

November 1, 2011

Dr. Abraham Sela of the Hebrew University in Jersusalem, an expert on the Arab world and currently a visiting scholar at Carleton College, will present a public lecture on Wednesday, Nov. 2 at 7 p.m. in the College’s Gould Library Athenaeum. Focused on the underlying causes of the revolutions that have overtaken the Arab world and the future of politics in countries such as Egypt and Syria, Sela’s lecture will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Entitled “Understanding the Arab Spring,” this presentation is free and open to the public.

Ever since popular protests in Tunisia ended President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s 23-year rule, unrest and pro-democracy protests have spread across the Middle East in what has come to be known as the Arab Spring. Initially ignited by anger at the suicide of a young, unemployed Tunisian named Mohamed Bouazizi, who set fire to himself after corrupt officials confiscated the vegetable cart that was his only means of livelihood, the calls for an end to dictatorship and corruption spread through social networking sites and have maintained a hold among the region’s large young population—one that is frustrated with unemployment and political repression. Protestors quickly succeeded in toppling Egyptian dictator Hosni Mubarak, and in Libya, rebels backed by NATO have succeeded in deposing Muammar Gaddafi; mass protests continue to meet with brutal military repression in Syria, where over 3,000 protesters have been killed, while other countries in the region have succeeded in placating their populations with promises of political and economic reforms.

Regarded as one of the world’s foremost experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a well-known scholar of the Arab and Muslim worlds, Abraham Sela is the A. Ephraim and Shirley Diamond Chair in International Relations at Hebrew University in Jerusalem and is currently serving as Carleton’s Benedict Distinguished Visiting Scholar. He is the author of several books, including The Decline of the Arab-Israeli Conflict: Middle East Politics and the Quest for Regional Order (SUNY Press, 1998) and The Palestinian Hamas: Vision, Violence, and Adjustment (Columbia University Press, 2000), which he co-authored with Shaul Mishal.

This event is sponsored by the Carleton College Humanities Center and the Department of Political Science. For further information and disability accommodations, call (507) 222-4217 or email nlambert@carleton.edu. The Gould Library Athenaeum is located in the Laurence M. Gould Library, accessible via Highway 19 in Northfield, on the Carleton College campus.

Written by Alex Korsunsky '12