Occasional Lectures

FinalGirlingFlyerKristian Girling, “Baghdad College and al-Hikma University: American Jesuit contributions to Iraqi education and society 1932–1968″

November 17, 2016 at the Pardee School, 121 Bay State Road.

Kristian Girling is a post-doctoral fellow at the Boston College ​Schoo​l of Theology.  His research focus is on​ the work of Catholic religious orders in the Iraqi education system during the twentieth century.
He completed his PhD at Heythrop College, University of London ​in 2016.  His doctoral research focused on the ​modern history of the Chaldean Catholic Church based on fieldwork completed in Iraq and Jordan.
​He is interested in modern/contemporary Iraq, religious plurality in Mesopotamia-Iraq and Christian-Muslim relations in the Middle East.

Ali Issa, “Against All Odds”

A conversation with author Ali Issa (March 18, 2016).

Collected from dozens of interviews with, and reports from, Iraqi feminists, labor organizers, environmentalists, and protest movement leaders, “Against All Odds” presents the unique voices of progressive Iraqi organizing on the ground.

Ali Issa is the National Field Organizer with War Resisters League, where he is co-coordinator of a campaign to end police militarization. He is originally from Iowa and holds a masters degree in Arabic Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. His literary translations have appeared in Banipal, the PEN World Atlas Blog, and Jadaliyya, where he is a contributor on Iraqi social movements.

Full audio of the lecture is available here.

IIS co-sponsored the visit by renowned novelist Elias Khoury on March 2, 2016.  Khoury read from his new novel, the Broken Mirrors: Sinacol.  Professor Jocelyne Cesari of the University of Birmingham offered a commentary.

Can Iraq be Saved?

A lecture by Colonel (ret.) Joseph Nunez (November 21, 2014)

Dr. Joseph R. Núñez, a retired US Army Colonel with extensive experience in Iraq, spoke at the Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University. He discussed the current crisis in Iraq and offered several solutions to rebuild the capacity of the Iraqi government to defeat ISIL and maintain security in the country.

Full audio of the lecture is available here.

IISBU can-iraq-be-saved poster

The rapporteur’s report:IISBU Report – Can Iraq Be Saved?

Read the speaker’s co-authored Boston Globe article, “Helping Iraqs Save Iraq“.

Clinical Professor Susan Akram and Clinical Students Aaron Lang, Sarah Bidinger, and Danielle Hites

Protecting Syrian Refugees: Laws, Policies, and Global Responsibility Sharing

Protecting Syrian Refugees April4

The International Human Rights Clinical Program at the Boston University School of Law will give a ‘report-back from the field’ on a two-year research project focusing on the legal issues and problems that are creating barriers to relief and protection for refugees fleeing Syria. This project focuses on the international and regional legal instruments that govern the rights of and obligations towards this refugee flow in the most affected states: Lebanon,
Jordan, Turkey, and Egypt. Addressing weaknesses in the existing legal framework within and among the states in which most of the Syrian refugees are seeking refuge, this research is oriented towards wider responsibility sharing of the refugee flow.
Clinical Professor Susan Akram and clinic students Aaron Lang, Sarah Bidinger and Danielle Hites will discuss the preliminary findings and recommendations based on their research.

“Afghan Hazaras’ Perceptions of the al-Najaf School of Thought,” April 29, 2014

Melissa Kerr Chiovenda, doctoral candidate in anthropology at the University of Connecticut, draws on 18 months fieldwork in Afghanistan where she focused
on Hazara ethnic identity in Bamyan and on gender among women working for NGOs in Jalalabad. She previously was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Kyrgyztan and Uzbekistan.  She has also worked in Russia.


Hazara Event Apr 2014


Ambassador Mohammed Ali Alhakim

“A Conversation with the Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations”


Roger Owen

“Iraq Agriculture: A Long History of Government Neglect”owen_000

On October 6, 2011, Roger Owen spoke to the Institute of Iraqi Studies at Boston University.  During the lecture, he highlighted the the long, changing history of agriculture in the fertile crescent of Iraq, noting in particular agricultural policies under the Baathist regime and recent developments.

Roger Owen wrote his Oxford doctoral thesis on the history of cotton production in modern Egypt and, since then, has maintained a strong interest in the development of Middle Eastern agriculture in both Egypt and the Fertile Crescent, details of which can be found in his two books, “The Middle East in the World Economy, 1800-1914″ and (with Sevket Pamuk), “A History of the Middle East Economies in the Twentieth Century”. He obtained a vivid and memorable first-hand look at the role of the twin rivers in Iraqi agricultural life during a visit to Baghdad during the flood season in May 1968.

Dale F. Eickelman
“The Arab Spring and Social Anthropology: The Last Half Century.”Dale Eickelman

On February 8, 2012, Prof. Dale Eickelman presented a lecture on “The Arab Spring and Social Anthropology: The Last Half Century,” at Boston University. The Institute is co-sponsored the very timely lecture with the Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations.

Dale F. Eickelman is Ralph and Richard Lazarus Professor of Anthropology and Human Relations at Dartmouth College and chair of the Department of Anthropology. His publications include Public Islam and the Common Good, co-edited with Armando Salvatore (Brill. 2004); Muslim Politics, co-authored with James Piscatori (Princeton University Press, new edition, 2004); The Middle East and Central Asia: An Anthropological Approach (Prentice Hall, 4th edition, 2002); New Media in the Muslim World: The Emerging Public Sphere (Indiana University Press, 2nd. Edition, 2003); Moroccan Islam (University of Texas Press, 1976); and Knowledge and Power in Morocco (Princeton University Press, 1985). A former President of the Middle East Studies Association of North America, fellow of the Institute for Advanced Study, Princeton, and of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, Professor Eickelman currently serves as senior advisor to Kuwait’s first private liberal arts university, the American University of Kuwait. In 2009 he was named a Carnegie Scholar for a project entitled “Mainstreaming Islam: Taking Charge of the Faith,” and in 2011 he received the Distinguished Scholar Award from the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association.

Wasfi Al-Sharaa
“Women’s Rights in Iraqi Laws”Wasfi Al-Sharaa

On June 14, 2012, the IIS fellow, Mr. Wasfi Al-Sharaa gave a talk about “Women’s Rights in Iraqi Laws.”Professor Wasfi Al-Sharaa comes from Basra University-School of Law. During his fellowship at Boston University, Mr. Al-Sharaa will be working on his proposal “Criminal Protection in Journalism: A Comparative Study.” Mr. Alsharaa has many publications such as Scientific Material evidence in the criminology proof. Master Thesis, 2001; Torture in the Iraqi Penalty Code which was published in Legal Science Magazine, College of Law, University of Baghdad, 2008; and “The Moral Element in the Crime of Faking Electronic Signature,” which was published at (Ssad) magazine in 2010.

Stephen Kinzer
“What the New Turkey Can Tell Us About the New Middle East”kinzer

The Institute for the Study of Muslim Societies and Civilizations, a partner of the Institute for Iraqi Studies, co-sponsored the 2012 Campagna-Kerven lecture on modern Turkey. The lecture was delivered by journalist, author, and Boston University Professor Stephen Kinzer.

Stephen Kinzer is a veteran New York Times correspondent who has reported from more than fifty countries on five continents. During the 1980s he covered revolution and social upheaval in Central America. In 1990, he was promoted to bureau chief of the Berlin bureau and covered the growth of Eastern and Central Europe as they emerged from Soviet rule. He was also New York Times bureau chief in Istanbul (Turkey) from 1996 to 2000. Kinzer has written several non-fiction books about Turkey, Central America, Iran, the US overthrow of foreign governments from the late 19th century to the present and, most recently, about Rwanda’s recovery from genocide. He has spoken out widely against a potential U.S. attack on Iran, warning that it would destroy the pro-US sentiment that has become widespread among the Iranian populace under the repressive Islamic regime.

IIS Announcements

Dr. Kristin Girling on "Baghdad College and al-Hikma University: American Jesuit contributions to Iraqi education and society 1932--1968," at the Pardee School, 121 Bay State Road, on November 17, 2016, at 12:00 P.M.

Activist 'Ali 'Issa on "Voices of Popular Struggle in Iraq," at the Pardee School, 121 Bay State Road, on March 18, 2016, at 2:30 P.M.

Novel Elias Khoury read from his new book The Broken Mirrors: Sinacol on March 2, 2016, at 7:00 P.M.

Just published! Eric Davis on Taking Democracy Seriously in Iraq

PDF and Kindle versions will be available.

IIS sponsors Muslim Youth conference, April 9, 2015

Can Iraq be Saved?

Read the rapporteur's report from the November 19, 2014 lecture and listen to streaming audio.

Sexual and Gender Based Violence against Syrian Refugees

Read the just-published executive summary from the May 2, 2014, workshop.

The Syrian Refugee Crisis and the Contiguous States

Read the just-published report from the January 31, 2014, workshop.

Beth Murphy joins as Non-Resident Fellow

The Institute is please to announce the appointment of Beth Murphy as Non-Resident Visual Arts Fellow.

JANUARY 31 2014 9am to 4:30pm: Workshop on the Syrian Refugee Crisis

CURA, 10 Lenox Street
Brookline, MA

This workshop focuses on the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis on the contiguous countries: Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey.


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