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Evanston Community Partnerships

MENA Monday Night at the Evanston Public Library

In January 2015, MENA established a partnership with Evanston Public Library as one of its new initiatives in community outreach. This collaboration is built around a series of lectures and public events, all of which are aimed at improving the public's understanding of the region and allowing the space for questions and discussion.

"Evanston residents are interested in the world, and in exploring and interpreting that world through a wide lens. The expertise and quality of Northwestern's MENA faculty and visiting faculty allows us to provide access to renowned academics exploring this region from a great variety of perspectives," said Karen Danczak Lyons, Director of Evanston Public Library.

"Northwestern's MENA program is dedicated to expanding knowledge about and facilitating discussion of a complex and frequently misunderstood region of the world. We are delighted to collaborate with the Evanston Public Library in our shared commitment to public engagement and outreach," said Brian Edwards, Director of Northwestern's Program in Middle East and North African Studies.


2019-2020 Series

wessels-book-coverMonday September 30

Documenting Syria: Film-Making, Video Activism & Revolution
Joshka Wessels, Malmö University, Sweden


galyaMonday October 21
The Criminalization of Kindness: The Politics of Migrant Rescue across the Sahara and the Mediterranean
Galya Ben-Arieh, Northwestern University


grigoriadisMonday November 4

The Rise of Populist Majoritarianism in Turkey and Greece
Ioannis Grigoriadis, Bilkent University, Turkey


jamilaMonday November 25 

Water, Gender and Politics in Morocco
Anthropologist & Human Rights Activist Jamila Bargach




2018-2019 Series


2017-2018 Series

Monday April 23: When Law is Not Enough: Controversies over Muslim Rights in the US — A Talk by Tunisian political scientist Nadia Marzouki

(co-sponsored by One Book One Northwestern, the Global Politics and Religion Research Group, and the Department of Political Science)



Monday May 7: Religious Freedom in Arab States: Who Is Free and What Are They Free to Do? A Talk by Nathan Brown

(co-sponsored by One Book One Northwestern. the Global Politics and Religion Research Group, and the Department of Political Science)



Monday June 4: Why is Sectarian Conflict on the Rise in the Middle East? A Talk by Danny Postel, Assistant Director, MENA Program, Northwestern University


Past Events


Monday February 26: Turkish-American writer Elif Batuman reads from and discusses her novel The Idiot (co-sponsored by the Keyman Modern Turkish Studies Program) (details)


Monday January 8: The Middle East and North Africa: 2017 in Review—and What to Look for in 2018 — A Talk by Marc Lynch (details)



December 11: The Risk of War with Iran: Will Trump Kill Obama’s Iran Deal? A Talk by Trita Parsi (details

November 13: Israel’s Occupation @ 50: What are the Prospects for a Future Solution? A Talk by Israeli political scientist Neve Gordon (details)

October 2: Book Presentation by MENA faculty member Wendy Pearlman — We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled: Voices from Syria (details)

June 5: Understanding Iran’s Presidential Election
Saeid Golkar, Northwestern University

May 22: The Afterlives of Torture: Executive Power versus International Law in the Age of Trump
Lisa Hajjar, University of California – Santa Barbara

April 3: "Workers and Thieves: Labor Movements and Popular Uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt"
Joel Beinin, Stanford University 

February 13: "Islamophobia and Islamophilia in Europe: How White Converts to Islam Shape Debates about Race, Immigration, and Religion"
Esra Özyürek, European Institute, London School of Economics & Political Science

January 30: “Prospects for US Middle East Policy in the Next Four Years”
Bassam Haddad, George Mason University



November 21: “Is the Quran a ‘Good Book’?”
Zareena Grewal, Yale University

October 24: “What is Happening in Turkey? A Discussion with Journalist Amberin Zaman”
Amberin Zaman, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

September 26: "Understanding the Real Threat of ISIS"
Rami Khouri, American University of Beirut (AUB)

June 6: "Return to Casablanca: Jews, Muslims, and an Israeli Anthropologist"
Andre Levy, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

May 2: "Social Media and the Arab World: Lessons Learned"
Driss Ksikes, CESEM/HEM and Editor of Economia, Rabat, Morocco

April 11: "Burning Country: Syrians in Revolution and War"
Robin Yassin-Kassab and Leila Al-Shami

March 21: "Islamophobia 101"
Tahera Ahmad, Northwestern University

February 1: "Beyond Religious Freedom: The New Global Politics of Religion"
Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Northwestern University



November 30: "After the American Century: The Ends of U.S. Culture in the Middle East"
Brian Edwards, Northwestern University

October 26: "The Basij Militia and Social Control in Iran"
Saeid Golkar, Northwestern University

September 28: "Transcending Nationalism in the Armenian Genocide Debate"
Meline Toumani, Journalist and Author; Elizabeth Shakman Hurd, Northwestern University; Ipek Yosmaoğlu, Northwestern University

May 11: “The History of Iranian Photography”
Ali Behdad, University of California, Los Angeles

April 13: “Four Myths about the Middle East”
Brian Edwards, Henri Lauzière, Wendy Pearlman, Jessica Winegar, Northwestern MENA Faculty

March 2: “The Rise of Sectarianism in the Middle East in an Age of Western Hegemony: 1860-2014”
Ussama Makdisi, Rice University

January 26: “Diplomacy on the Front Lines in the Middle East”
Nabeel Khoury, Northwestern University

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