Georgetown’s SFS-Q workshop analyses impact of uprisings
TRIBUNE NEWS NETWORK
DOHA STUDENTS and professors from around the region gathered at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (SFS-Q) to recount and analyse the aftermath of the Arab Spring during a one-day workshop, which took place at the university campus on Saturday.
The workshop, part of the Arab and Regional Studies Programme (CARS) at SFS-Q, and which was organised in collaboration with the Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS), allowed students and scholars from various disciplines to discuss the effects of the revolution which toppled four Arab dictators and led to widespread rebellions across the region.
Beyond the strictly political domain, topics under discussion included cultural dimensions and values; language and culture; class, religion and gender; and the future ahead.
Lamia Adi, a Georgetown University student as well as class, religion and gender panelist, peppered her discussion with personal tales of Syria. She praised the subjects stating, “The lecturers shed light on specific topics, like the use of language on signs and banners throughout the revolution. It was interesting to see how both humour and satire were weaved into the messages. I also enjoyed learning about how important symbols are in religion, for example, the growing of a beard and what it represents.” Yehia Mohamed, a panelist on the ‘Language and Culture’ discussion, is an assistant professor at SFS-Q and has resided in Qatar for five years.
The lecturer explained how a new language was born from the Arab Spring revolution.
Commenting on the topics, Yehia said, “Every day we see political analysis of the Arab Spring on television, in journals, in newspapers; and the workshop gave people a chance to discuss other aspects of the revolution, for example, culture.” Lena Zahir, a student studying international politics, further supported the lecturer’s statement, said, “It’s great to see how interested the scholars are in the people of the revolution — it’s not just about the politics.” The panelists ranged from undergraduates at SFS-Q to professors and scholars from both within Qatar as well as across the region.
The workshop was an opportunity for academics from around the world to meet and share ideas; a sentiment which was reiterated by Robert Crane, director of Contemporary Muslim Societies center in Faculty of Islamic studies – Qatar.
“The scholars brought here together are well informed and diverse. It is a community of experts,” Crane said.
“The workshop is timely. A year of experience to evaluate, and we’re still beginning to figure it out. Hopefully, we’ll be able to forecast the future,” he added.