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Various Years:
Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture Series

October 20, 2010
Aysha Murad: From Dilmun to Bahrain
Aysha Murad discusses the past and future of Bahrain.

June 17, 2010
Palestinian Contemporary Arts, Trends, and Thematics
Adila Laidi-Hanieh of George Mason University presents "Palestinian Contemporary Arts, Trends and Thematics: Cultural, Social and Historical Influences."

May 26, 2010
The Egyptian Museum
The director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo spoke about the museum. The event was co-sponsored by the Egyptian Embassy Cultural and Educational Affairs Office.

May 18, 2010
Stories from Afghanistan
Scholar Nancy Gallagher discusses Afghanistan in this lecture. While her past work has focused on the Arab world, she is now concentrating on Afghanistan, especially the place and role of women in Afghanistan's society, which has undergone tremendous change over the past 30 years, during which the country has been constantly at war.

March 23, 2010
Taha Husayn's Intellectual Legacy in the Arab World
Egyptian writer and scholar Taha Husayn (1889-1973) devoted his life to intellectual freedom and the introduction of Western learning into his country. His body of work, which focused on Islamic and Arabic history and literature, had a profound effect on scholarship in the Arab and non-Arab world. Scholars lecture on various aspects of Husayn's writings including his autobiography and the themes of Islamiyyat (Islamic Studies) and Arab enlightenment in Husayn's writings. Also discussed is Husayn as a pioneer in the discourse between the old and new Arab world.

December 3, 2009

Petroglyphic Art in North Africa: The Story of the Engraved Rocks of the Sahara
The Near East Section, part of the African and Middle Eastern Division, presents a lecture given by Dr. Ahmed Achrati who speaks about petroglyphic art in North Africa.

November 17, 2009
My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran
Haleh Esfandiar, author and director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars speaks on her recently published memoir "My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran."

October 16, 2009

Eminent Persians: the Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941-1979
Abbas Milani discusses his two-volume work "Eminent Persians: The Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941-1979."

October 6, 2009
The Arabic Souvenir of Valentine Mott
Author Andrew Oliver speaks on his investigation of "The Arabic Souvenir of Valentine Mott."

October 1, 2009
On Higher Education in Lebanon and the Role of USEK
Father Hady J. Mahfouz, Rector of the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) gives a presentation titled "On Higher Education in Lebanon and the Role of USEK."

October 1, 2009
Physician Writers, Past and Present
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division sponsored the lecture "Physician Writers, Past and Present" given by Sherif Meleka, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.

September 22, 2009
Five Countries in 21 Days
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress presents "Five Countries in 21 Days."

September 9. 2009

Defenders of the Faith
James Reston discusses his newest book "Defenders of the Faith" which focuses on Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificient, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536.

June 17, 2009

The Approach of the Halakah and Sharia' to Contemporary Legal Issues
Judaic and Islamic legal systems (based on Halakah and Sharia', respectively) have endured for centuries despite the rapid changes and challenges of the modern world --from exploration of outer space to human cloning. They serve as a testimony to the relevance and universality of their underlying values and principles.

The potential application of these legal systems to the development of foreign policy was the subject of a program titled "The Approach of the Halakah and Sharia' to Contemporary Legal Issues."

In addition to explaining the historical development of Judaic and Islamic law, the program explored adaptations of these laws that could benefit policymakers in their legislative work on foreign policy and other areas affecting religiously oriented communities.

June 3, 2009

Report from Armenia
Marie L. Yovanovitch, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia, discussed the situation in Armenia since her appointment to the position on Aug. 1, 2008. Her report covered the contemporary Armenian scene, U.S.- Armenian relations and USAID-funded programs and initiatives in Armenia.

May 5, 2009

Literature and Nation-Building in the Writings of 'A'isha Taymur (1840-1902)

Mervat Hatem, professor of political science at Howard University, presented a talk titled "Literature and Nation-Building in the Writings of 'A'isha Taymur (1840-1902)."

April 28, 2009
Recovering the Memory of a Muslim World Hero: Emir Abdel-Kader, 1808-1883
John W. Kiser, author of "Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader" presented a lecture titled "Recovering the Memory of a Muslim World Hero: Emir Abdel-Kader, 1808-1883" in a program sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division.

April 13, 2009
Exploration into Exile and Creativity: The Case of Arab-American Writers
Halim Barakat, professor emeritus at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, delivered a lecture titled "Exploration Into Exile and Creativity: The Case of Arab-American Writers" in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division.

March 17, 2009
Lyre of Ur Project
Art historian Andy Lowings discusses "Lyre of Ur Project" in a program sponsored by African and Middle Eastern Division.

March 16, 2009

Education in Kurdistan
Idris Hadi Salih, minister of higher education of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, presents a lecture on education in Iraqi Kurdisan in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division.

March 10, 2009
Iraq: Rural and Urban Social Organization
Michael Albin, former chief of the Library's Anglo-American acquisitions and, until December 2008, anthropologist with the United States military in Iraq, discusses "Iraq: Rural and Urban Social Organization" in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division.

February 26, 2009
The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization
The African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress is sponsoring a series of lectures on Iraq history and society. Jonathan Lyons, a researcher at the Global Terrorism Research Center at Monash University, Victoria, Australia, discussed his new book, "The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization."

February 24, 2009

The Iraqi Revolution: Why is it Relevant to Modern Iraq?
The African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress is sponsoring a series of lectures on Iraq history and society. Juan Romero delivered the second of a two-part lecture based on research for an upcoming book.

February 17, 2009
The Iraq Monarchy: A British Experiment in Nation Building
The African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress is sponsoring a series of lectures on Iraq history and society. Juan Romero delivered the first of a two-part lecture based on research for an upcoming book.

November 2- 3, 2008
Iranian Jewry: From Past to Present
A two-Day conference on the history and culture of Iranian Jewry, sponsored jointly by the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress and the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies and the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland.
For Full Conference Details Click Here

The Jews of Iran comprise not only one of the oldest populations of Jews in the world, but also one of the most ancient threads in the diverse fabric of the ancient Iranian community. Beginning with the Achaemenid period (550-330 B.C.) and lasting beyond the emigration of a portion of Iran's Jewish population to the United States and Israel in the late 1970s, Jews have had a complex interaction with the Persian state and culture.
Iranian Jewry: From Past to Present (Sunday Nov. 2nd at UMD)

Iranian Jewry: From Past To Present - Morning Session (Monday Nov. 3rd at LOC)
The morning session focused on Jews in Medieval Persian Cultures and Resources for the Study of Iranian Jewry. Featured speakers and topics of discussion were Parvaneh Pourshariati, "Jewish Participation in Over-Land Trade in Late Antique Iran: A Preliminary Assessment"; Maria Subtelny, "The Jews at the Edge of the World: The Islamic Ascension Narrative as Missionary Text in Medieval Iran"; and Vera Moreen,"Neglected Sources: The Riches of Judeo-Persian Manuscripts."
In addition, other speakers were Peggy Pearlstein, "Iranian Judaic and Hebraic Resources in the Collections of the Library of Congress"; Hirad Dinavari, "Jewish Resources in Persian and Iranian Collections at the Library of Congress"; and Vera Moreen, "Of Making Many Encyclopedias There Is No End: Reflections on the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World."

Iranian Jewry: From Past To Present - Afternoon Session (Monday, Nov. 3rd at LOC)
The afternoon session focused on Jewish Material Culture and Folk Art and Jewish Culture in Twentieth Century Iran. Featured speakers and their topics of discussion were Judith Goldstein, "Muslim Rulers and Jewish Holy Men: Oral Tradition and the Imagination of Political Agency"; Shalom Sabar, "Persian and Kurdish Jewish Amulets: Shapes and Images, Texts and Social Function"; Evan Rapport, "Bukharian Jewish Musical Life and Its Relationship to Judeo-Persian Culture"; and Orly Rahimiyan, "The Iranian Shylock: The Image of the Jews in Iranian Cinema." Dalia Yasharpour, “Influence of the Jewish Persian rite on the Haggadah of the Kaifeng Chinese”

August 19, 2008
Excavations in Afghanistan and Central Asia
The Near East Section of the African Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress sponsored at talk by Fredrik Hiebert titled "Excavations in Afghanistan and Central Asia."

June 24, 2008
Publishing Trends in the Islamic Republic of Iran
The Near East Section of The African Middle Eastern Division and the John W. Kluge Center presented a lecture by Nasrollah Pourjavady, Distinguished Visiting Scholar from Tehran University at the Roshan Persian Studies Center of the University of Maryland. He discussed "Publishing Trends In the Islamic Republic of Iran."

June 4, 2008

Women and Education in Saudi Arabia
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress presented Nihad el- Jesh, consultant of the Majlis al-Shura (Consultative Assembly) of Saudi Arabia, who delivered a lecture titled "Women and Education in Saudi Arabia."

April 11, 2008
Who Speaks for Islam?
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division presented, as part of the series "Beyond the Islamist Discourse: Muslims Look at Their Societies," John Esposito, who discussed "Who Speaks for Islam?"

March 27, 2008

Education, Health and Socio-Economic Developments in Iraq Today
Morning Session
Afternoon Session
Representatives from the U.S. Department of State; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine; the Office of Iraq Reconstruction (USAID); the International Office for Migration; AMIDEAST; Life for Relief and Development; International Relief and Development; World Learning; and Mobile Medical International Corporation met to discuss their work in Iraq.

March 21, 2008
Oussama Romdhani: The Impact of the Information Technology Revolution on the Youth of Tunisia
Oussama Romdhani, director general of the Tunisian External Communication Agency, made a presentation in the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room on "The Impact of the Information Technology Revolution on the Youth of Tunisia." He commented on the TV viewing habits of the Tunisian public based on a recent Gallup poll, and discussed the impact of satellite dishes in bringing TV programs from Europe and the Middle East to every Tunisian home. He also explained that there were 8.5 million cell phones in Tunisia, which had an impact on family authority, and how the internet promotes modernity and could also be used to recruit young people to radical Islamic causes.

February 26, 2008
Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Religion and Modernity
The Near East Section of the African Middle Eastern Division and the John W. Kluge Center hosted a talk by Shireen Hunter on her new book, "Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Religion and Modernity."

February 7, 2008
The Druze are a thousand-year-old religious community of the Middle East, whose members today live primarily in Lebanon, Syria and Israel, while others have emigrated to the United States, Europe and Africa. Their historical and intellectual legacy was examined by 10 scholars from the U.S. and Middle East who participated in a symposium at the Library of Congress.

The Druze Heritage: Part I
The Druze Heritage: Part II
The Druze Heritage: Part III
The Druze Heritage: Part IV

Scholars participating in the symposium included Sami Makarem, American University of Beirut; Majid Fakhri, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University; Abbas Hamdani, Wisconsin University; Linda Clarke, Concordia University; Melhem Salman, American Druze Foundation; Sumaiya Hamdani, George Mason University; Erlendur Haraldsson, University of Iceland; Intisar Azzam, Lebanese American University in Beirut; Kais M. Firro, Haifa University; and Dr. Anis Obeid, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University. Haraldsson will deliver a luncheon speech titled "Reincarnation, Ancient Beliefs and New Evidence Among the Druze."

February 2, 2008
Classical Music of Persia: The Precious Heritage of Iranians
Honoring the arrival of Spring and celebrating the age old tradition of Nowruz, Roya Bahrami presented a lecture-recital based on her research to give historical and structural review of Persian Classical Music. The recital component was selections from her recently released album "Roya," inspired by the timeless wisdom of Persian poets Rumi, Hafez and Sepehri, as well as Persian roots of Spanish Flamenco.


April 25, 2007
Iranians Writing and Publishing Today, At Home and Abroad
Iranian novelist Moniro Ravanipour, author and publisher Babak Takhti, author Shahryar Mandanipour and playwright Ezzat Goushegir participated in a panel discussion on "Iranians Writing and Publishing Today, At Home and Abroad " in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the University of Maryland Center for Persian Studies.

April 25, 2007
The Sama Ensemble
The Sama Ensemble performed traditional Iranian music and dance as part of the Homegrown Concert Series
sponsored by the American Folklife Center.

March 27, 2007
Mir Ali Shir Symposium

Panel 1
Panel 2
Panel 3

During the 15th century, Mir Ali Shir (1441-1501) was the major literary figure among the Central Asian Turkic peoples, the ancestors of today's Uzbeks. His life, work and legacy was the focus of a symposium held at the Library of Congress. Sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division and the Embassy of Uzbekistan, the symposium examined the writings of Mir Ali shir who wrote under the pen name Navoi.
Mir Ali Shir was the author of more than 30 books, written mostly in Chagatay, also known as Old Uzbek. He also wrote in Persian and Arabic. As a major patron of the arts, Navoi supported visual artists, calligraphers, authors and architects. When not involved in artistic and literary pursuits, he served as an important government official for his friend Sultan Husayn Bayqarah, ruler of Herat in Afghanistan.

Scholars from Uzbekistan, Europe and the United States participated in the symposium with presentations about Navoi's life and work and the society in which he lived. Speakers included Frederique Bressand, International Society of Timurids; Dilorom Abidjanova, University of World Economy and Diplomacy at Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Andras Bodrogligeti, University of California at Los Angeles; Ilse Cirtautas, University of Washington at Seattle; and Ibrahim Pourhadi, Library of Congress. Uzbek author Shavakat Azimov and Dwayne Rodeheaver of AmRus Ventures Inc. presented to the Library and discussed the first English translation of Navoi's work titled "Lisan al-Tayr ("The Language of the Birds"). Priscilla Roberts, president of the Friends of Uzbekistan, made concluding remarks

.March 14, 2007
Celebrating Rumi: An Evening of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi's Poetry and Sufi Music with Whirling Dervishes

The Library's African and Middle Eastern Division and the Music Division co-sponsored a poetry and music program with the Turkish Embassy titled "Celebrating Rumi: An Evening of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi's Poetry and Sufi Music with Whirling Dervishes." This was the first of several programs which launched the UNESCO's International Year of Rumi in the United States.

February 27, 2007
The Middle East Journal 60th Anniversary
Morning Session
Afternoon Session
For 60 years The Middle East Journal has provided a forum for scholarship representing all viewpoints about this complex region of the world. This milestone was marked with a conference titled "No Longer 'Terra Incognita?': Six Decades of The Middle East Journal" sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division.

The conference examined how scholarship in the Middle East has evolved during the past 60 years and the role that the Middle East Journal has played in that evolution. The conference also explored the legacy of the past and challenges of the future in the field of Middle East scholarship and policy.

MEI was founded in 1946 to increase knowledge of the Middle East in the United States and promote better understanding between the peoples of the Middle East and America. MEI founded The Middle East Journal in 1947.


November 30, 2006

Tunisia:Celebrating Fifty Years of Women’s Emancipation
A symposium titled "Tunisia: Celebrating Fifty Years of Women’s Emancipation" was held on Thursday November 30, 2006, in the Thomas Jefferson Building, sponsored jointly by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division and the Embassy of Tunisia. Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor made a special presentation. The other speakers included Alifa Chaabane Farouk, the Ombudsman of Tunisia and a member of the Executive Board of Tunisia’s ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally; Hayet Laouni, an entrepreneur, and founder of a shipping company Maersk-Tunisia, and an international trade company, EXECO; and Mounira Charrad a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, and the author of States and Women’s Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco

March 8, 2005
The Near East Section of the African and Middle East Division, Library of Congress, and the Iraq Memory Foundation co-sponsored a symposium:"The New Iraq - Memory and National Identity". The keynote speaker was the Mayor of Baghdad: the Honorable `Ala' al-Tamimi.

.First Panel
Second Panel


The symposium focused on the importance and the preservation of millions of documents from the Baathist archives of Iraq, uncovered after the war in 2003. Kanan Makiya, the Iraqi born President of the Iraq Memory Foundation who is in charge of preserving these documents in Baghdad, discussed the role and significance of memory. The Mayor of Baghdad talked about the importance in the life of Iraqis of the "The Museum of Remembrance" that will house those documents, while Dianne van der Reyden, the LC Director for Preservation, made a presentation on different threats to those documents and ways to preserve them for future generations. Other speakers included Deanna Marcum, who made the opening remarks, Roger Owen, the Director of the Middle East Center, Harvard University, Peter Sluglett, Professor of History, University of Utah, Falih Jabar, Director of the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Hassan Mneimneh, Director of the Documentation Project of the Iraq Memory Foundation, and Carole Basri, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania. Mary-Jane Deeb, the Head of the Near East Section, moderated the symposium panels.


March 29, 2005
CHAKAVAK ENSEMBLE PERFORMS PERSIAN CLASSICAL MUSIC
The Chakavak Ensemble showcased examples of Persian classical music at the Library of Congress's Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, March 29th. The event was sponsored jointly by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, Music Division and American Folklife Center. Under the direction of Dr. Nader Majd, the eight member ensemble performed on traditional Iranian instruments such as the tar, kamancheh, santur, zarb,setar, as well as the violin and cello. The concert was in celebration of Nowruz (New Day) the first day of the Iranian solar year (March 20) marking the first day of the spring equinox. Nowruz is an age-old tradition celebrated by the peoples and nations who share Iran's ancient Persianate cultural heritage
February 22, 2005
John M. Evans, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, presented “Report from Armenia, 2004,on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at the Library of Congress. The event was sponsored by the Library of Congress Armenian Seminar series of the Near East Section, African and Middle Eastern Division. Robin Philips, USAID/Armenia Director, added remarks on the situation in Armenia since he became the US representative in 2004.
April 19, 2004
"The Art of Splendor: Islamic Luxury Goods" By Dr. Rosamund Mack, author of Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600.
March 16, 2004
Azar Nafisi delivered a lecture titled "Women in Iran: Past, Present and Future"at the Library of Congress on March 16th in the James Madison Building. The event, sponsored by the Near East Section of the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division, was free and open to the public.
January 8, 2004
John M. Ordway, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia since its declaration of independence in 1991 delivered the "Report from Armenian: 2003.

October 30, 2003
Arman J. Kirakossian, ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in the United States, discussed his book "British
Diplomacy and the Armenian Question: 1830-1914"
(Gomidas Institute, 2003)


October 23, 2003
Michael E. Stone, Senior Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress presented a
lecture titled "A Hidden Treasure: The Armenian Adam Epic by Arakel of Siwnik"

October 9, 2003
The African and Middle Eastern Division and the Kluge Center co-sponsored a conference on "Islam, Science and Cultural
Values"
with the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, the Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Office of International Affairs of the National Academy of Sciences.

May 20, 2003
The African and Middle Eastern Division sponsored the Eleventh Annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture. Congressman
Frank Pallone, Jr., Democrat 6th District, New Jersey, Founder and present co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on
Armenian Issues "The U.S. Congress and Armenia Today"
May 19, 2003,
Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, discussed his new autobiography, "The Road
to Home: My Life and Times
" (Simon & Schuster 2003)

September, 2002
In cooperation with the Fulbright Commission, " Women in the Global Community"
To view "Profiles of Remarkable Women"( monitor resolution must be set to 1024 x 768) (Instructions in pdf format)

April 22, 2002
The African and Middle Eastern Division sponsored the Tenth Annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture. Michael
C. Lemmon, U.S. Ambassador, the Republic of Armenia (1998-2001), Dean of the School of Language Studies,
Foreign Service Institute on "Reflections on Armenia's Place in the Region and the World"
January, 2002
Symposium on Islam in America:This program, part of a series of symposia on Islam, was co-sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the Office of Scholarly Programs and made possible in part by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Raja Sidawi Fund. The participants discussed the historical experience of the three major Muslim groups in the United States: the Arab, the African and the Asian.

December 3-4, 2001
"Modern Technology and Traditional Roles: The Bin Laden Tapes"
presented by Mary-Jane Deeb at the Margaret Mead Symposium at the Library of Congress.

March 7, 2001
The African and Middle Eastern Division and the Women's Learning Partnership presented a symposium titled
"Life Lines: The Literature of Women's Human Rights."
November 2, 2000
The Library of Congress organized a series of five symposia on Globalization and Muslim Societies, three of which were supported by a grant from the Rockerfeller Foundation. More than three dozen intellectuals, policymakers, organizational leaders, journalists, bankers, lawyers and others, representing some of the best minds in the United States and the Muslim world, were invited to share their thoughts on the issues and shed light on the debate.
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