“The Source of Turmoil in the Middle East: The Sectarian Schism Between Sunni and Shi’a”, a Conversation with Geneive Abdo

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  • DATE / TIME:
    2018•03•22    18:30 - 19:30

    On 22 March 2018, UNU will host “The Source of Turmoil in the Middle East: The Sectarian Schism Between Sunni and Shi’a, a conversation with Geneive Abdo, Senior Resident Scholar at the Arabia Foundation.

    In the seventh century, a schism developed over the designation of the rightful heir to Prophet Mohammed, creating two factions whose rift is the fundamental fracture of the Middle East today. From the centuries of conflict between the Safavid Dynasty in Persia and the Ottomans, to the tensions of today between (most notably) Iran and Saudi Arabia, the Shi’a-Sunni divide is not only religious, but also geopolitical. Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979 catalysed the re-emergence of this divide in the 20th century. This conflict contributes to much of the violence seen across the Middle East. How has the situation changed with the recent engagement of Turkey and that of countless non-state actors? Is there a solution in sight?

    Ms Abdo will join Mr Adam Day, Senior Policy Adviser at the UNU Centre for Policy Research, for a conversation examining the sectarian origins of the current conflict in the Middle East and its undeniable impact on the region and beyond.

    The UNU Conversation Series aims to foster audience participation: you are encouraged to engage with the speakers during the conversation and at the reception that will follow, where all audience members are invited to enjoy the food and drinks that will be served while exchanging ideas and making new contacts.

    Please note that this event will be in English only; Japanese interpretation will not be provided. Advance registration (by 21 March) is required. Please click on the REGISTER button above to access the online registration page.

    About the speaker

    Geneive Abdo is Senior Resident Scholar at the Arabia Foundation, a think tank in Washington, DC, and a lecturer at the Elliot School of International Affairs at George Washington University. She was previously engaged at the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations and as a foreign correspondent in the Middle East, most notably for The Guardian. Additionally, she has contributed to several notable publications, including the International Herald Tribune, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Newsweek, and The Economist. Ms Abdo is also the author of four books, most recently The New Sectarianism: The Arab Uprisings and the Rebirth of the Shi’a-Sunni Divide.

    A recipient of numerous scholarly honours, including the John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and Harvard University’s Nieman Fellowship, Ms Abdo has an MA from Princeton University and BA in Political Science and Middle East Studies from the University of Texas, Austin.


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