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Sample Classes

MEST 5201 - A Critical Introduction to Middle East Studies
This is a compulsory introductory course for MA students in Middle East studies. It focuses on some of the major debates and important literature in several of the disciplines that make up Middle East area studies, including: the history and politics of colonialism, Orientalism and Occidentalism; the validity of interdisciplinary area studies as a distinct field of knowledge; gender as a category of historical and social analysis; economic and political development; modernity and globalization; and the national, regional and international politics of the Middle East with special reference to the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the role of oil and secularism/Islamism.

MEST 5298 - Research Methods in Middle East Studies
The course aims to provide students with a basic knowledge of the social sciences and a broad-based training in research methodologies. In particular, the course will focus on the students' ability to:

  • Understand the epistemological foundations and research methods in social sciences and explain the differences between them.
  • Explain the principles and procedures of drawing up a research plan.
  • Define and formulate research questions and decide on the most appropriate research method(s).
  • Analyze various qualitative data including interviews and documents.
  • Discuss and account for ethical and legal issues within social science research.

MEST 5280 - Analysis of the Role of the UN and the Arab League in Middle East Conflicts: Case Studies
This course will examine in some detail the nature of the roles played by the UN and Arab League in a number of the conflicts in the region. It will explore the intricacies and complexities of these roles, their mechanisms and results, by studying milestone documents and resolutions issued by the two organizations and the conflict resolution efforts they exerted, including mediation.
Using a form of Socratic method and in a workshop format, you will be guided through analytical discussions and critical discourses to address the subject matter of the course and its material.
The instructor will draw on his personal involvement in some of the events covered by the course, as a diplomat in the Egyptian Foreign Minister (in the UN and the Cabinet of the Foreign Minister) and his years in the League of Arab States as Chef de Cabinet of the Secretary General.

At the end of the course, you should be able to:

- Better understand the current conflicts that plague the region.
- Comprehend how regional and international policies have influenced those conflicts, through a critical reading of key diplomatic documents and texts addressing the conflicts of the region. 
- Familiarize yourself with the role the UN and the Arab League played in influencing those conflicts and are still playing in attempting to resolve them.
- Obtain a firm grasp on the milestone documents that have helped shape the current Middle East and influence regional dynamics, such as the UN General Assembly Resolution 181 (1947), which partitioned Palestine and established the State of Israel, Security Council Resolution 242 (1967), which set out the parameters of negotiations in the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, which changed the Arab approach to the conflict, Arab League Summit Resolution 195 of 1990 and Security Council Resolutions 678 (1990), 687 (1991) and 1441 of 2002, which contributed to defining the current situation  in Iraq and the Geneva Communiqué of 2012, which set out a plan for the resolution of the Syrian conflict.
- Develop an understanding of how the dynamics of the regional and global climates influence the workings of the United Nations and the League of Arab States.

The course is expected to cover the following areas, among others:

1. What are the United Nations and the League of Arab States and how do they function as mechanisms for the maintenance of peace and security.
2. The seeds of the current Middle East conflicts: Sykes-Picot/the Balfour Declaration/the League of Nations Mandate System over parts of the Arab World. 
3. The role of the UN and LAS at the critical junctures of the Arab Israeli Conflict:- the partition of Palestine/the Armistice Agreements of 1947/the Suez War of 1956/the 1967 war and its aftermath/the two-state solution (The Road Map and the Arab Peace Initiative).
4. How the Arab League and the UN helped shape the current situation in Iraq: the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait and its aftermath in 1990-1991/the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in 2003
5. The role of LAS and the UN in attempting to resolve the Syrian conflict and its limitations: Arab League attempts in 2011 and 2012/The UN/LAS joint mediation efforts in 2012-2014/Current mediation efforts.

You are expected to have some background regarding the conflicts in the region and to have been following current events in the Arab World and the Middle East over the last few years.