Located in Amman, the Center has the advantage of drawing from the diverse array of socio-political structures from within Jordan as well as among its neighbors, including Syria, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. Through student programs based on constitutional engineering and conferences on refugee integration, the Amman Center is able to engage with regional experts and scholars to encourage continued research and education on the timely and relevant issues that continue to surround this region.

A Century of Palestinian Nationalism: Modes of Political Organization and Representation since 1919

This conference investigated the historical causes for the formation of the First Palestinian Congress, the Muslim-Christian Associations, and the course of the Palestinian National Movement. It also retraced the political and social profiles of those who established these different organizations. In roundtable sessions, participants discussed conflicting ideologies that these political formations championed, the factionalism they produced, the social classes they were rooted in, and their consequences for today’s Palestinian political landscape.

A keynote lecture was delivered by Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University. Initiated by Dr. Noha Tadros, a former visiting fellow at the Amman Global Center, the conference was organized in partnership with the French Institute for the Near East (Ifpo), the Institute for Palestine Studies, and Al Hekma Association.

Untangling Popular Power: Rhetoric, Faith, and Social Order in the Middle East

In collaboration with the Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life at Columbia University, the Amman Center held a conference that explored various forms of popular power in the Middle East and North Africa by examining how populism is defined, the role of modern populist movements, how the use of religious identity has shaped these movements, and the relationship between populist ambitions and various media platforms, from print to broadcast to digital.

The two-day conference provided a forum for scholars, local experts, advanced doctoral students, activists, and practitioners to investigate these themes and track how populism that uses religious discourse is being variously deployed across the MENA region. The keynote lecture was delivered by Jon Alterman, Senior Vice President, Zbigniew Brzezinski Chair in Global Security and Geostrategy, and Director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Public Engagement

As part of the Center’s commitment to knowledge and to promoting scholarly discourse on a range of issues, the Center continues to host ongoing public talks that seek to spark academic dialogue in the community and help solidify the Center’s presence in the region as a focal point of intellectual engagement.

U.S Foreign Policy in the Middle East Under the Biden Administration
The panel, moderated by David Gardner, International Affairs Editor at the Financial Times, discussed the strategic shifts and foreign policy changes that may be expected in the Middle East and North Africa region from the Biden Administration.

The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine – Book Launch with Rashid Khalidi
A conversation and celebration with Rashid Khalidi on his book, The Hundred Years' War on Palestine.

Is Democracy Secular? A talk by Andrea Cassatella
Andrea Cassatella reflected on the nature and future of democracy, turning to the work of Jacques Derrida to interrogate whether secularism is one of democracy’s necessary and desirable features. 

Human Rights in Conflict: A conversation with Omar Shakir
Omar Shakir discussed his deportation from Israel over his human rights advocacy and what it means for the human rights movement on the ground. He also explored the Israeli government's evolving stance towards activists and civil society organizations, human rights violations in the West Bank and Gaza, and issues related to gender and sexuality in the context of prolonged occupation.

Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance – A conversation with Tareq Baconi
In this conversation, Tareq talked about his recent book, in which he focused on the situation in the Gaza Strip today, and discussed how Hamas has been used as a fig leaf by Israel to legitimate policies of separation and isolation of Gaza that long predate the movement. He discussed the post-Oslo era of the Palestinian national movement, and the growing recognition on the ground of the need to shift to a rights-based approach for individual and collective equality across the land of historic Palestine.

Writing/Walking Palestine: Raja Shehadeh charts his city, Ramallah, and Penny Johnson explores our common lives and histories with animals

The Holocaust and the Nakba: A New Grammar of Trauma and History – A talk with Bashir Bashir
The talk examined how and why the Holocaust and the Nakba are interlinked without blurring fundamental differences between them. While these two foundational tragedies are often discussed separately and in abstraction from the constitutive historical global contexts of nationalism and colonialism, Bashir's talk explored the historical, political, and cultural intersections between them. Bashir argued that these intersections are embedded in cultural imaginations, colonial and asymmetrical power relations, realities, and structures. 

Sykes-Picot and Balfour Revisited: Looking Beyond the Maps – A talk with Fawwaz Traboulsi
The talk was based on Traboulsi's book, Sykes-Picot-Balfour: Beyond the Maps, which was inspired by the centenary of the Sykes-Picot Agreement and Balfour Declaration, and by the debate raised about both. The book revisits two founding documents of the modern Near East during the critical decade (1914-1924) that decided the fate of the Arab peoples of the ex-Ottoman Empire, against the background of World War I, the competition between the British and French colonial powers, and the outcome of the 1919 Paris Peace Conference. In his talk, Traboulsi retraced that sequence and addressed issues of unity and partition; natural and artificial states; and what he calls the “fetichism of maps.” He also examined the resources and economic interests at stake in the Franco-British colonial competition.

Related News

September 17, 2018

Call for Applications: Fellowship Program for Emerging Displaced Scholars

Through the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s Program in Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities, Columbia Global Centers | Amman has established a fellowship program starting on January 1, 2019 that offers 12-month fellowships for emerging displaced scholars interested in the humanities to continue and further develop their scholarly pursuits.

September 16, 2018

Call for Papers - Untangling Popular Power: Rhetoric, Faith, and Social Order in the Middle East - March 2-3, 2019

The Institute for Religion, Culture and Public Life (IRCPL) at Columbia University in collaboration with the Columbia Global Centers | Amman and co-sponsored by our partners in Europe, are organizing a conference entitled - Untangling Popular Power: Rhetoric, Faith, and Social Order in the Middle East.

May 06, 2018

Regional Perspectives on International Mobility: Contextualizing the Model International Mobility Convention

This workshop brought together experts to critically examine the question of international mobility and theoretically and practically explore the MIMC. The meeting served as a platform for Professor Doyle to present and promote the MIMC, which proposes a framework for mobility with the goals of reaffirming the existing rights afforded to mobile people (and the corresponding rights and responsibilities of states), as well as expanding those basic rights where warranted.

February 21, 2018

Call for Papers: “Pluralisms in Emergenc(i)es: Movement, Space, and Religious Difference” – Tunis

The Institute for Religion, Culture & Public Life and Columbia Global Centers are organizing a conference entitled "Pluralism(s) in Emergencies: Movement, Space, and Religious Difference" in Tunis, Tunisia on July 11-12, 2018. The project is being organized with support from the Department of Culture Studies and Oriental Languages (IKOS) at the University of Oslo; and the Centre for Religion, Conflict, and Globalization at the University of Groningen. 

December 31, 2017

Mental Health and the Psychological Impact of War on Individuals, Families and Communities in Yemen

This project remains ongoing and aims to address the adverse effects of armed conflict on the mental health of individuals, families and communities in Yemen, to bring mental health concerns into Yemen’s peace and reconciliation processes, and to strengthen recognition of the human right to mental health in Yemen and internationally.

June 08, 2017

President’s Global Innovation Fund 2017

Provost John H. Coatsworth has announced the fifth round of grants from the President’s Global Innovation Fund (PGIF) on June 1, 2017. 11 projects received awards this year after being selected by a review committee of senior faculty drawn from both the Morningside and medical campuses.

April 12, 2017

The Evolving Visa and Border Regime by Elizabeth Redden

President Trump has said he wants “extreme vetting” and ideological testing of visa applicants. What will that look like, exactly? As American colleges wait to hear whether accepted applicants will take up their admission offers for the fall, what can they expect students who are coming from other countries to encounter when they apply for visas and when they show up at border security checkpoints at U.S. airports?

April 09, 2017

قراءة نفسية للأمين: ‘‘داعش‘‘ منح القاتل فرصة لتحويل جريمته لقضية عليا

عمان - قدم الصحفي والكاتب في "الحياة" اللندنية حازم الأمين، مقاربة حول صلة علم التحليل النفسي بظاهرة منتسبي "داعش"، من خلال قراءة استكشافية ميدانية للعشرات منهم، أظهرت وجود دوافع غير منسجمة فيما بينهم للالتحاق بالتنظيم و"الانتحار والقتل" كظاهرة جماعية، فيما اعتبر ان "داعش" "ابن انقسام مذهبي وفشل سياسات المجتمع الدولي والأنظمة العربية". 

November 22, 2016

Reform Learning to Enable Arab Democracy - Financial Times Op-Ed by Professor Safwan Masri

To understand the despondent state of affairs in the Arab world today, one need only look at the region's education systems and how they have evolved through decades of deliberate attempts to suppress the Arab mind. Hyper-nationalist propaganda, exclusionary rhetoric and dogmatic religious discourse have been their defining features. The result has been that generations of Arabs have not only been deprived of a good education, but they have been taught to be narrow-minded, intolerant and ill-equipped for participation in a globalised world. 

October 11, 2016

British filmmaker examines water theft in Jordan

 Is water a human right or a commodity? This is the question British filmmaker Laila Khan set out to answer in her latest documentary, “Stolen Water”. Khan’s short documentary sheds light on water theft in Jordan and the measures that authorities are taking to curb violations on the water network. 

September 21, 2016

Exploring a Region in Transition as Change Sweeps the Middle East

Historic waves of migration, unprecedented digital activism, challenges to religious pluralism: amid all of these developments in the Middle East, Columbia Global Centers – Columbia University’s network of eight education and learning centers around the world – are exploring the implications of these changes on culture, health and safety, and politics in the region.

September 13, 2016

Redefining a University’s Role for a World in Crisis

NEW YORK, Sept. 13, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- "With civil conflict, terrorist threats, and major health crises causing unprecedented disruption in communities all over the world, universities must step up to a new level of globalism in our outlook and in our activities," says Professor Safwan M. Masri, Executive Vice President for Global Centers and Global Development at Columbia University

April 26, 2016

Beyond the Rhetoric of False Choices: The Case for Lasting U.S. Engagement in the Middle East - A Talk by Ambassador Alice Wells

During the most tumultuous period the region has experienced in decades, the U.S. relationship with the Middle East has been the subject of intense interest and debate. Ambassador Wells made the case for why U.S. interests in the Middle East transcend the profound current challenges, and discussed how America’s national interests demand continued and deepened engagement with the region.

April 11, 2016

The Search for a Mideast Solution: A Discussion between Professor Safwan Masri and Nicolas Pelham

On April 11, 2016, Columbia Global Reports hosted a discussion about the book Holy Lands: Reviving Pluralism in the Middle Eastpublished by Columbia Global Reports in 2016The speakers included author of the book, Nicolas Pelham, Middle East correspondent for The Economist and Professor Safwan M.

October 20, 2015

Syria’s Refugee Crisis: Public Health Challenges

In March 2011, pro-democracy protests erupted in Syria. Violent conflict between demonstrators and government forces spiraled into what is now, four and a half years later, a civil war that has killed more than 200,000 people and forced more than 4 million people to flee the country, with millions more families displaced inside Syria’s borders.

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