2017 Edward Said Memorial Lecture: “Literature, Empathy, and Rights”

Professor David Palumbo-Liu discusses how our commitments to empathy and ethics can only be met if we acknowledge the ways the realities of Palestine have been obscured and distorted. He examines three key concerns related to human rights that Said addressed via his study of literature and suggests a vision of comparative literature that might conjoin with the model of literary studies Edward Said embodied, at the center of which was the issue of rights.

“An Unlikely Audience: Al Jazeera’s Struggle in America”

Mining data from over 50 interviews since 2010, internal documents, and original surveys, this book offers a brisk and authoritative account of the world’s most recognizable media-brand and its decade-long ingress into the US – crucial background for Al Jazeera’s continued expansion in the United States.

“In Search of a Prophet – Kahlil Gibran: An Unparalleled Guide for Our Times”

Paul-Gordon Chandler takes the listener on a fascinating journey through the all-embracing spirituality of Kahlil Gibran, the early 20th century Lebanese-American poet artist and mystic, author of the bestselling book The Prophet. He explores how Kahlil Gibran, a supreme East-West figure, can be a much-needed guide for our time, related to peace, harmony and building bridges between the creeds of the Middle East and West.

“Colored Water: Dixie Through Egyptian Eyes”

This memoir offers uncommon and thought provoking cross-cultural observations on segregation, the “American Dream”, race, identity, science, sexuality, love, academia, religion, tradition, personal freedom, social status, and class from the perspective of Dr. Ashraf El-Bayoumi, who was living in America for the first time in 1950s, pursuing his post-graduate studies in chemistry in Florida.

Political Challenges to Diversity in Both Nature and Society in Palestine

Dr. Qumsiyeh argues that movements towards uniformity such as Zionism have threatened the crucial diversity found in the landscape. This applies both to social diversity and also to biodiversity. Restoring our social and natural ecosystems to balance requires challenging ideas of dominance and hegemony, which Dr. Qumsiyeh discusses as a Palestinian Christian, a biologist, and a human rights activist. 

Assessing the Impact of the 1967 War on the Palestinians 50 Years Later

Professor Shibley Telhami articulates the path that the 1967 war set for the Palestinians and why it has been enormously challenging for them to overcome even after 50 years of occupation. The lecture ties the current state of affairs to the diplomatic efforts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict proposed by the Trump administration.

“The Scent of Jasmine: Coming of Age in Jerusalem and Damascus”

This fascinating memoir begins with vignettes about the displacement of Ameri’s family during the 1948 Nakba and their enforced migration from west Jerusalem, to Damascus, to east Jerusalem, to finally settling in Amman. The later stories focus on her gradual coming of age in the 1950s and 1960s during the era of Arab nationalism and international solidarity that take her from Amman to Cairo and then Beirut.