The African and Middle Eastern Division sponsors a regular series of talks given by experts in various fields. Since 2001, these talks have been recorded and most of these past events can be viewed online in the Library's Event Videos collection.
Learn more about upcoming events:
Tunisia: Celebrating Fifty Years of Women’s Emancipation (November 30, 2006)
Sponsored jointly by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division and the Embassy of Tunisia, this symposium featured former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Other speakers included Alifa Chaabane Farouk, the Ombudsman of Tunisia and a member of the Executive Board of Tunisia’s ruling party, the Democratic Constitutional Rally; Hayet Laouni, an entrepreneur, and founder of a shipping company Maersk-Tunisia, and an international trade company, EXECO; and Mounira Charrad a professor of sociology at the University of Texas at Austin, and the author of States and Women’s Rights: The Making of Postcolonial Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.
Symposium: The New Iraq - Memory and National Identity: Part 1 description | Part 2 description [video not available]
The Near East Section of the African and Middle East Division, Library of Congress, and the Iraq Memory Foundation co-sponsored this symposium; the keynote speaker was the Mayor of Baghdad: the Honorable `Ala' al-Tamimi. The symposium focused on the importance and the preservation of millions of documents from the Baathist archives of Iraq, uncovered after the war in 2003. Kanan Makiya, the Iraqi born President of the Iraq Memory Foundation who is in charge of preserving these documents in Baghdad, discussed the role and significance of memory. The Mayor of Baghdad talked about the importance in the life of Iraqis of the "The Museum of Remembrance" that will house those documents, while Dianne van der Reyden, the LC Director for Preservation, made a presentation on different threats to those documents and ways to preserve them for future generations. Other speakers included Deanna Marcum, who made the opening remarks, Roger Owen, the Director of the Middle East Center, Harvard University, Peter Sluglett, Professor of History, University of Utah, Falih Jabar, Director of the Iraq Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Hassan Mneimneh, Director of the Documentation Project of the Iraq Memory Foundation, and Carole Basri, Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania. Mary-Jane Deeb, the Head of the Near East Section, moderated the symposium panels.
Chakavak Ensemble Performs Persian Classical Music (March 29, 2005)
The Chakavak Ensemble showcased examples of Persian classical music at the Library of Congress's Coolidge Auditorium on Tuesday, March 29th. The event was sponsored jointly by the Library’s African and Middle Eastern Division, Music Division and American Folklife Center. Under the direction of Dr. Nader Majd, the eight member ensemble performed on traditional Iranian instruments such as the tar, kamancheh, santur, zarb,setar, as well as the violin and cello. The concert was in celebration of Nowruz (New Day) the first day of the Iranian solar year (March 20) marking the first day of the spring equinox. Nowruz is an age-old tradition celebrated by the peoples and nations who share Iran's ancient Persianate cultural heritage.
Report from Armenia, 2004 (February 22, 2005) [video not available]
John M. Evans, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, presented “Report from Armenia, 2004,”on Tuesday, February 22, 2005 at the Library of Congress. The event was sponsored by the Library of Congress Armenian Seminar series of the Near East Section, African and Middle Eastern Division. Robin Philips, USAID/Armenia Director, added remarks on the situation in Armenia since he became the US representative in 2004. Mr. Evans studied history both at Yale University and Columbia University before entering the foreign service. His role in coordinating the American response to the Armenian earthquake of 1988 earned him a medal and statement of appreciation from the Armenian government of that time. Robin Philips, a senior Foreign Service Officer, has been with the USAID since 1984. USAID/Armenia’s sixth Mission Director directs a $50+ million-per year economic program whose aim is to provide support in economic, democratic, and social sector reforms.
The Art of Splendor: Islamic Luxury Goods (April 19, 2004)
A lecture with illustrations presented by Rosamond Mack, the author of Bazaar to Piazza: Islamic Trade and Italian Art, 1300-1600. Rosamond Mack is an independent scholar who received a doctorate in Renaissance Art from Harvard University.
Women in Iran: Past, Present and Future (March 16, 2004)
Azar Nafisi discusses the current state of women in the Islamic republic of Iran. Born in Tehran, Iran, Nafisi was sent by her parents to England at the age of 13 to finish her studies. Upon completing her degree in English and American literature, she returned to Iran after the 1979 revolution. She began teaching at the University of Tehran and was expelled from the university in 1981 for refusing to wear the mandatory Islamic veil. She did not resume teaching until 1987. A decade later, she came to the United States, where she currently teaches culture and literature at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. For several years before leaving Iran, Nafisi gathered seven young women at her house every week to discuss forbidden works of Western literature. The experience is recounted in her book, "Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books."
Report from Armenia: 2003 (January 8, 2004)
This report was delivered by John M. Ordway, former U.S. Ambassador to Armenia since its declaration of independence in 1991. Ambassador John Ordway became the fourth representative of the US to Armenia on November 16, 2001. He brought to that assignment an extensive background in Soviet and Russian affairs, European security, conflict resolution and peacekeeping operations.
British Diplomacy and the Armenian Question: 1830-1914 (October 30, 2003)
Arman J. Kirakossian, ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in the United States, discussed his book "British Diplomacy and the Armenian Question: 1830-1914" (Gomidas Institute, 2003).
A Hidden Treasure: The Armenian Adam Epic by Arakel of Siwnik (October 23, 2003) [video not available]
Michael E. Stone, Senior Distinguished Visiting Scholar at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress presented this lecture. Michael Stone, born in Leeds, U.K., in 1938, received his Ph.D. from Harvard University. He is professor of Armenian Studies and Gail Levin de Nur Professor of Religious Studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
Islam, Science and Cultural Values (October 9, 2003) [video not available]
The African and Middle Eastern and the Kluge Center co-sponsored a conference on "Islam, Science and Cultural Values" with the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University, the Dialogue on Science, Ethics and Religion Program of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Office of International Affairs of the National Academy of Sciences. The Speakers included: Seyyed Hossein Nasr, University Professor of Islamic Studies at George Washington University; George Saliba, Professor of Arabic and Islamic Science at Columbia University; Osman Bakar, Malaysia Chair of Islam in SE Asia, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University; Mustanir Mir, Director, Center for Islamic Studies, Youngstown State University; Ahmad Dallal, Chairman of the Department of Arabic Language, Literature and Linguistics at Georgetown University; Ebrahim Moosa, Research Professor of Religion at Duke University; Ibrahim Kalin, Assistant Professor in the Religious Studies Department, College of the Holy Cross; Syed Nomanul Haq, Lecturer, Islam and Middle Eastern Studies in the Department of History of Art at the University of Pennsylvania; and Karim Ahmed Director of the International Program at the National Council for Science and the Environment, and program Director of the Center for te Study of Science and Religion at Georgetown University.
Eleventh Annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture (May 20, 2003) [video not available]
The program is named for the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr which was waged in A.D. 451 by Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against Persian troops who had been sent by the King of Kings to reimpose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. Though chiefly a religious holiday, it celebrates as well Armenia’s retention of its essence in the face of its millennia-long struggles against various forces of assimilation. Speakers were: Levon Avdoyan, Armenian and Georgian Area Specialist “Welcoming remarks from James H. Billington, Librarian of Congress” “Armeniaca and the Library of Congress: 2002-2003" Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr.,Democrat, 6th District, New Jersey Founder and present co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues “The U.S. Congress and Armenia Today”
The Road to Home: My Life and Times (May 19, 2003)
Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York, discussed his new autobiography. Vartan Gregorian became the 12th president of Carnegie Corporation of New York in June 1997. Previously, he was the president of Brown University for nine years and served as president of the New York Public Library from 1981 until 1989. Born to Armenian parents in Tabriz, Iran, Gregorian attended elementary and secondary school in Iran and Lebanon, respectively. Majoring in history and the humanities, he entered Stanford University in 1956 and graduated with honors in 1958. He earned a Ph.D. from Stanford in 1964. Gregorians publications include "The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan: Politics of Reform and Modernization, 1880-1946" and "Islam: a Mosaic, not a Monolith." He is the recipient of numerous fellowships and honors. In 1998, President Clinton awarded him the National Humanities Medal.
Women in the Global Community (September, 2002)
This collaborative project between the Library and the Fulbright program was initiated in the spring of 2002, when the State Department asked the Library to videotape a September conference it was sponsoring on "Women in the Global Community" in Istanbul, Turkey. In addition to the formal program, the Library videotaped interviews by Mary-Jane Deeb with six exceptional Muslim women who attended the conference for the Library's Web site. Two each are from Afghanistan, Turkey and the Arab world.
Reflections on Armenia's Place in the Region and the World (April 22, 2002)
The African and Middle Eastern Division sponsored the Tenth Annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture, featuring Michael C. Lemmon, U.S. Ambassador, the Republic of Armenia (1998-2001), Dean of the School of Language Studies, Foreign Service Institute.
Symposium on Islam in America (January, 2002)
This program, part of a series of symposia on Islam, was co-sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the Office of Scholarly Programs and made possible in part by a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation and the Raja Sidawi Fund. The participants discussed the historical experience of the three major Muslim groups in the United States: the Arab, the African and the Asian.
Modern Technology and Traditional Roles: The Bin Laden Tapes (December 3-4, 2001) [video not available]
"Modern Technology and Traditional Roles: The Bin Laden Tapes" presented by Mary-Jane Deeb at the Margaret Mead Symposium at the Library of Congress.
The Sharakan: Crown Jewel of the Armenian Liturgy (April 16, 2001)
This sound and slide presentation from the 9th annual Vardanants Day celebration features renowned pianist, composer and teacher Sahan Arzruni. He lectures on the Sharakan, the Armenian hymnal, and performs two recital pieces: Dances (1903-1916) by Komitas and Elegy (1978) by Arno Babadjanian.
Life Lines: The Literature of Women's Human Rights (March 7, 2001) [video not available]
The African and Middle Eastern Division and the Women's Learning Partnership presented a symposium titled
"Life Lines: The Literature of Women's Human Rights."
Globalization and Muslim Societies (November 2, 2000) [video not available]
The Library of Congress organized a series of five symposia on Globalization and Muslim Societies, three of which were supported by a grant from the Rockerfeller Foundation. More than three dozen intellectuals, policymakers, organizational leaders, journalists, bankers, lawyers and others, representing some of the best minds in the United States and the Muslim world, were invited to share their thoughts on the issues and shed light on the debate.
Iranians Writing and Publishing Today, At Home and Abroad (April 25, 2007)
Iranian novelist Moniro Ravanipour, author and publisher Babak Takhti, author Shahryar Mandanipour and playwright Ezzat Goushegir participated in a panel discussion on "Iranians Writing and Publishing Today, At Home and Abroad " in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division and the University of Maryland Center for Persian Studies.
The Sama Ensemble (April 25, 2007)
The Sama Ensemble performed traditional Iranian music and dance as part of the Homegrown Concert Series sponsored by the American Folklife Center.
Mir Ali Shir Symposium: Panel 1 | Panel 2 | Panel 3 (March 27, 2007)
During the 15th century, Mir Ali Shir (1441-1501) was the major literary figure among the Central Asian Turkic peoples, the ancestors of today's Uzbeks. His life, work and legacy was the focus of a symposium held at the Library of Congress. Sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division and the Embassy of Uzbekistan, the symposium examined the writings of Mir Ali shir who wrote under the pen name Navoi. Mir Ali Shir was the author of more than 30 books, written mostly in Chagatay, also known as Old Uzbek. He also wrote in Persian and Arabic. As a major patron of the arts, Navoi supported visual artists, calligraphers, authors and architects. When not involved in artistic and literary pursuits, he served as an important government official for his friend Sultan Husayn Bayqarah, ruler of Herat in Afghanistan. Scholars from Uzbekistan, Europe and the United States participated in the symposium with presentations about Navoi's life and work and the society in which he lived. Speakers included Frederique Bressand, International Society of Timurids; Dilorom Abidjanova, University of World Economy and Diplomacy at Tashkent, Uzbekistan; Andras Bodrogligeti, University of California at Los Angeles; Ilse Cirtautas, University of Washington at Seattle; and Ibrahim Pourhadi, Library of Congress. Uzbek author Shavakat Azimov and Dwayne Rodeheaver of AmRus Ventures Inc. presented to the Library and discussed the first English translation of Navoi's work titled "Lisan al-Tayr ("The Language of the Birds"). Priscilla Roberts, president of the Friends of Uzbekistan, made concluding remarks.
Celebrating Rumi: An Evening of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi's Poetry and Sufi Music with Whirling Dervishes (March 14, 2007)
The Library's African and Middle Eastern Division and the Music Division co-sponsored a poetry and music program with the Turkish Embassy titled "Celebrating Rumi: An Evening of Mevlana Celaleddin Rumi's Poetry and Sufi Music with Whirling Dervishes." This was the first of several programs which launched the UNESCO's International Year of Rumi in the United States.
The Middle East Journal 60th Anniversary: Morning Session | Afternoon Session (February 27, 2007)
For 60 years The Middle East Journal has provided a forum for scholarship representing all viewpoints about this complex region of the world. This milestone was marked with a conference titled "No Longer 'Terra Incognita?': Six Decades of The Middle East Journal" sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division. The conference examined how scholarship in the Middle East has evolved during the past 60 years and the role that the Middle East Journal has played in that evolution. The conference also explored the legacy of the past and challenges of the future in the field of Middle East scholarship and policy. MEI was founded in 1946 to increase knowledge of the Middle East in the United States and promote better understanding between the peoples of the Middle East and America. MEI founded The Middle East Journal in 1947.
Iranian Jewry: From Past to Present: Morning Session | Afternoon Session (November 2-3, 2008)
A two-day conference on the history and culture of Iranian Jewry, sponsored jointly by the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress and the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies and the Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute Center for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland. The Jews of Iran comprise not only one of the oldest populations of Jews in the world, but also one of the most ancient threads in the diverse fabric of the ancient Iranian community. Beginning with the Achaemenid period (550-330 B.C.) and lasting beyond the emigration of a portion of Iran's Jewish population to the United States and Israel in the late 1970s, Jews have had a complex interaction with the Persian state and culture. The morning session focused on Jews in Medieval Persian Cultures and Resources for the Study of Iranian Jewry. Featured speakers and topics of discussion were Parvaneh Pourshariati, "Jewish Participation in Over-Land Trade in Late Antique Iran: A Preliminary Assessment"; Maria Subtelny, "The Jews at the Edge of the World: The Islamic Ascension Narrative as Missionary Text in Medieval Iran"; and Vera Moreen,"Neglected Sources: The Riches of Judeo-Persian Manuscripts." In addition, other speakers were Peggy Pearlstein, "Iranian Judaic and Hebraic Resources in the Collections of the Library of Congress"; Hirad Dinavari, "Jewish Resources in Persian and Iranian Collections at the Library of Congress"; and Vera Moreen, "Of Making Many Encyclopedias There Is No End: Reflections on the Encyclopedia of Jews in the Islamic World." The afternoon session focused on Jewish Material Culture and Folk Art and Jewish Culture in Twentieth Century Iran. Featured speakers and their topics of discussion were Judith Goldstein, "Muslim Rulers and Jewish Holy Men: Oral Tradition and the Imagination of Political Agency"; Shalom Sabar, "Persian and Kurdish Jewish Amulets: Shapes and Images, Texts and Social Function"; Evan Rapport, "Bukharian Jewish Musical Life and Its Relationship to Judeo-Persian Culture"; and Orly Rahimiyan, "The Iranian Shylock: The Image of the Jews in Iranian Cinema." Dalia Yasharpour, “Influence of the Jewish Persian rite on the Haggadah of the Kaifeng Chinese”
Excavations in Afghanistan and Central Asia (August 19, 2008)
The Near East Section of the African Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress sponsored at talk by Fredrik Hiebert titled "Excavations in Afghanistan and Central Asia."
Publishing Trends in the Islamic Republic of Iran (June 24, 2008)
The Near East Section of The African Middle Eastern Division and the John W. Kluge Center presented a lecture by Nasrollah Pourjavady, Distinguished Visiting Scholar from Tehran University at the Roshan Persian Studies Center of the University of Maryland. He discussed "Publishing Trends In the Islamic Republic of Iran."
Women and Education in Saudi Arabia (June 4, 2008)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress presented Nihad el- Jesh, consultant of the Majlis al-Shura (Consultative Assembly) of Saudi Arabia, who delivered a lecture titled "Women and Education in Saudi Arabia."
Who Speaks for Islam? (April 11, 2008)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division presented, as part of the series "Beyond the Islamist Discourse: Muslims Look at Their Societies," John Esposito, who discussed "Who Speaks for Islam?"
Education, Health and Socio-Economic Developments in Iraq Today: Morning Session | Afternoon Session (March 27, 2008)
Representatives from the U.S. Department of State; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; the Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine; the Office of Iraq Reconstruction (USAID); the International Office for Migration; AMIDEAST; Life for Relief and Development; International Relief and Development; World Learning; and Mobile Medical International Corporation met to discuss their work in Iraq.
Oussama Romdhani: The Impact of the Information Technology Revolution on the Youth of Tunisia (March 21, 2008)
Romdhani, director general of the Tunisian External Communication Agency, made a presentation in the African and Middle Eastern Reading Room on "The Impact of the Information Technology Revolution on the Youth of Tunisia." He commented on the TV viewing habits of the Tunisian public based on a recent Gallup poll, and discussed the impact of satellite dishes in bringing TV programs from Europe and the Middle East to every Tunisian home. He also explained that there were 8.5 million cell phones in Tunisia, which had an impact on family authority, and how the internet promotes modernity and could also be used to recruit young people to radical Islamic causes.
Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Religion and Modernity (February 26, 2008)
The Near East Section of the African Middle Eastern Division and the John W. Kluge Center hosted a talk by Shireen Hunter on her new book, "Reformist Voices of Islam: Mediating Religion and Modernity."
The Druze Heritage: Part I | Part II | Part III | Part IV (February 7, 2008)
The Druze are a thousand-year-old religious community of the Middle East, whose members today live primarily in Lebanon, Syria and Israel, while others have emigrated to the United States, Europe and Africa. Their historical and intellectual legacy was examined by 10 scholars from the U.S. and Middle East who participated in a symposium at the Library of Congress. Scholars participating in the symposium included Sami Makarem, American University of Beirut; Majid Fakhri, Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding at Georgetown University; Abbas Hamdani, Wisconsin University; Linda Clarke, Concordia University; Melhem Salman, American Druze Foundation; Sumaiya Hamdani, George Mason University; Erlendur Haraldsson, University of Iceland; Intisar Azzam, Lebanese American University in Beirut; Kais M. Firro, Haifa University; and Dr. Anis Obeid, State University of New York, Upstate Medical University. Haraldsson will deliver a luncheon speech titled "Reincarnation, Ancient Beliefs and New Evidence Among the Druze."
Classical Music of Persia: The Precious Heritage of Iranians (February 2, 2008)
Honoring the arrival of Spring and celebrating the age old tradition of Nowruz, Roya Bahrami presented a lecture-recital based on her research to give historical and structural review of Persian Classical Music. The recital component was selections from her recently released album "Roya," inspired by the timeless wisdom of Persian poets Rumi, Hafez and Sepehri, as well as Persian roots of Spanish Flamenco.
Petroglyphic Art in North Africa: The Story of the Engraved Rocks of the Sahara (December 3, 2009)
The Near East Section, part of the African and Middle Eastern Division, presents a lecture given by Dr. Ahmed Achrati who speaks about petroglyphic art in North Africa.
My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran (November 17, 2009)
Haleh Esfandiar, author and director of the Middle East Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars speaks on her recently published memoir "My Prison, My Home: One Woman's Story of Captivity in Iran."
Eminent Persians: the Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941-1979 (October 16, 2009)
Abbas Milani discusses his two-volume work "Eminent Persians: The Men and Women Who Made Modern Iran, 1941-1979."
The Arabic Souvenir of Valentine Mott (October 6, 2009)
Author Andrew Oliver speaks on his investigation of "The Arabic Souvenir of Valentine Mott."
On Higher Education in Lebanon and the Role of USEK (October 1, 2009)
Father Hady J. Mahfouz, Rector of the Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK) gives a presentation titled "On Higher Education in Lebanon and the Role of USEK."
Physician Writers, Past and Present (October 1, 2009)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division sponsored the lecture "Physician Writers, Past and Present" given by Sherif Meleka, M.D., Assistant Professor of Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins University.
Five Countries in 21 Days (September 22, 2009)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division at the Library of Congress presents "Five Countries in 21 Days."
Defenders of the Faith (September 9, 2009)
James Reston discusses his newest book "Defenders of the Faith" which focuses on Charles V, Suleyman the Magnificient, and the Battle for Europe, 1520-1536.
The Approach of the Halakah and Sharia' to Contemporary Legal Issues (June 17, 2009)
Judaic and Islamic legal systems (based on Halakah and Sharia', respectively) have endured for centuries despite the rapid changes and challenges of the modern world --from exploration of outer space to human cloning. They serve as a testimony to the relevance and universality of their underlying values and principles. The potential application of these legal systems to the development of foreign policy was the subject of a program titled "The Approach of the Halakah and Sharia' to Contemporary Legal Issues." In addition to explaining the historical development of Judaic and Islamic law, the program explored adaptations of these laws that could benefit policymakers in their legislative work on foreign policy and other areas affecting religiously oriented communities.
Report from Armenia (June 3, 2009)
Marie L. Yovanovitch, United States Ambassador to the Republic of Armenia, discussed the situation in Armenia since her appointment to the position on Aug. 1, 2008. Her report covered the contemporary Armenian scene, U.S.- Armenian relations and USAID-funded programs and initiatives in Armenia.
Literature and Nation-Building in the Writings of 'A'isha Taymur (1840-1902) (May 5, 2009)
Mervat Hatem, professor of political science at Howard University, presented a talk titled "Literature and Nation-Building in the Writings of 'A'isha Taymur (1840-1902)."
Recovering the Memory of a Muslim World Hero: Emir Abdel-Kader, 1808-1883 (April 28, 2009)
John W. Kiser, author of "Commander of the Faithful: The Life and Times of Emir Abd el-Kader" presented a lecture titled "Recovering the Memory of a Muslim World Hero: Emir Abdel-Kader, 1808-1883" in a program sponsored by the Library's African and Middle Eastern Division.
Exploration into Exile and Creativity: The Case of Arab-American Writers (April 13, 2009)
Halim Barakat, professor emeritus at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown University, delivered a lecture titled "Exploration Into Exile and Creativity: The Case of Arab-American Writers" in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division.
Lyre of Ur Project (March 17, 2009)
Art historian Andy Lowings discusses "Lyre of Ur Project" in a program sponsored by African and Middle Eastern Division.
Education in Kurdistan (March 16, 2009)
Idris Hadi Salih, minister of higher education of the Kurdistan region of Iraq, presents a lecture on education in Iraqi Kurdisan in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division.
Iraq: Rural and Urban Social Organization (March 10, 2009)
Michael Albin, former chief of the Library's Anglo-American acquisitions and, until December 2008, anthropologist with the United States military in Iraq, discusses "Iraq: Rural and Urban Social Organization" in a program sponsored by the African and Middle Eastern Division.
The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization (February 26, 2009)
The African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress is sponsoring a series of lectures on Iraq history and society. Jonathan Lyons, a researcher at the Global Terrorism Research Center at Monash University, Victoria, Australia, discussed his new book, "The House of Wisdom: How the Arabs Transformed Western Civilization."
The Iraqi Revolution: Why is it Relevant to Modern Iraq? (February 24, 2009)
The African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress is sponsoring a series of lectures on Iraq history and society. Juan Romero delivered the second of a two-part lecture based on research for an upcoming book.
The Iraq Monarchy: A British Experiment in Nation Building (February 17, 2009)
The African and Middle Eastern Division of the Library of Congress is sponsoring a series of lectures on Iraq history and society. Juan Romero delivered the first of a two-part lecture based on research for an upcoming book.
Aysha Murad: From Dilmun to Bahrain (October 20, 2010)
Aysha Murad discusses the past and future of Bahrain.
Palestinian Contemporary Arts, Trends, and Thematics (June 17, 2010)
Adila Laidi-Hanieh of George Mason University presents "Palestinian Contemporary Arts, Trends and Thematics: Cultural, Social and Historical Influences."
The Egyptian Museum (May 26, 2010)
The director of the Egyptian Museum in Cairo spoke about the museum. The event was co-sponsored by the Egyptian Embassy Cultural and Educational Affairs Office.
Stories from Afghanistan (May 18, 2010)
Scholar Nancy Gallagher discusses Afghanistan in this lecture. While her past work has focused on the Arab world, she is now concentrating on Afghanistan, especially the place and role of women in Afghanistan's society, which has undergone tremendous change over the past 30 years, during which the country has been constantly at war.
Taha Husayn's Intellectual Legacy in the Arab World (March 23, 2010)
Egyptian writer and scholar Taha Husayn (1889-1973) devoted his life to intellectual freedom and the introduction of Western learning into his country. His body of work, which focused on Islamic and Arabic history and literature, had a profound effect on scholarship in the Arab and non-Arab world. Scholars lecture on various aspects of Husayn's writings including his autobiography and the themes of Islamiyyat (Islamic Studies) and Arab enlightenment in Husayn's writings. Also discussed is Husayn as a pioneer in the discourse between the old and new Arab world.
Turkmenistan Folk Ensemble (November 28, 2011)
The African and Middle Eastern Division sponsored presented a concert featuring the Turkmenistan Folk Ensemble performing traditional Turkmenistan music.
Literary & Performing Arts of Turkmenistan (November 28, 2011)
In observance of Turkmenistan Culture Day and the 20th anniversary of the nation's independence, the Library hosted a series of events celebrating Turkmenistan, including this symposium on its literary and performing arts.
The New Anbar Awakening, 2009-2011 (September 6, 2011)
Michael Albin discussed his deployment to Iraq.
Farzaneh Milani: Words Not Swords (June 22, 2011)
Farzaneh Milani discusses her recently published book, "Words Not Swords: Iranian Women Writers and the Freedom of Movement."
Ameen Rihani: The Book of Khalid (March 29, 2011)
The Library of Congress and the Ameen Rihani Institute presented a symposium on the 100th anniversary of the first Arab-American novel, Ameen Rihani's "The Book of Khalid."
Belly Dancers, Harems & Chadors (March 9, 2011)
Author Maha Addasi discusses the importance of getting multicultural details right in children's books.
Abbas Milani & The Shah (February 9, 2011)
Over the course of almost 40 years, Mohammad Reza Shah was a colossus in Iran, the one constant in a swirl of changing loyalties, political fortunes, and pressures both domestic and international; by the end of his reign, virtually no state decision could be taken, save by him. Abbas Milani discusses the ruler in his latest book, "The Shah".
Cuisine and Culture in the Arab World (January 19, 2011)
Author Amy Riolo discusses cuisine and culture in the Arab world.
Resurrecting the Ancient Library of Alexandria (October 2, 2012)
Hassan Eltaher discusses the considerable cultural and historical project of reviving Egypt's ancient library at Alexandria.
Who are the Copts? (September 21, 2012)
Bishop Angaelos delivered a presentation on the Copts, the native Christians of Egypt.
The Origins of Traditional Palestinian Costumes & Embroidery (September 18, 2012)
Hanan K. Munayyer discusses the origins of traditional Palestinian dress and embroidery.
The Growth of a Squiggly Letter Language Collection: Armenian at the Library of Congress (August 29, 2012)
Levon Avdoyan discusses the establishment and growth of the Library's Armenian language collections.
Reading Omar Khayyam's Ruba'iyyat with Their Historical Context (July 19, 2012)
Mehdi Aminrazavi, professor of Philosophy and Religion at the University of Mary Washington discusses "Reading Omar Khayyam's Ruba'iyyat within Their Historical Context."
Jurji Zaidan: His Contribution to Modern Arab Thought & Literature: Morning Session |
Afternoon Session (June 5, 2012)
Scholars from the Arab world, Europe and North America presented papers and discussed the life and work of the noted Arab novelist, journalist and publisher. (Morning session.) Speakers included Jens Hanssen (University of Toronto) Marwa El Shakry (Columbia University), Anne-Laure Dupont, Roger Allen (University of Pennsylvania), Zainab Ben Lagha, William Granara (Harvard University), Michael Cooperson (University of California/Los Angeles), Thomas Philipp (Erlangen University, Germany), George Zaidan (founder of The Zaidan Foundation), and from the Library of Congress, Roberta Shaffer, Jeremy Adamson and Mary Jane Deeb.
The Persian Traditional Music Golha Project (May 16, 2012)
This illustrated lecture revealed the background and importance of Golha radio programs which were broadcast in Iran from 1956 through 1978. Jane Lewisohn discussed the artistic, literary and social significance of preserving and promoting Persian literature and music in general.
The Last Pharaoh: A Dream for the World (May 15, 2012)
Wagdi Zeid presented "The Last Pharaoh: A Dream for the World," his play about Akhnaton, the first monotheistic pharaoh in Egypt, and his efforts to unify the country and promote his belief of the one and only god.
Gift of Georgian Book (May 10, 2012)
Nikoloz Rurua, Georgian Minister of Culture, presents Librarian of Congress James H. Billington with "Contemporary Georgian Fiction," translated and edited by Elizabeth Heighway and published by Dalkey Archive Press. Heighway and Dalkey Archive Press founder John O'Brien give insight and answer questions about the gift book.
Armenian Literary Identity (April 19, 2012)
Kevork Bardakjian presented "Scribes, Compositors and the Mind in the Making: the Armenian Script and the Creation of an Armenian Literary Identity." Levon Avdoyan discussed "The Continuity and Change of an Armenian Identity in the Digital Age." Following the lectures, participants visited the new exhibition, "To Know Wisdom and Instruction: The Armenian Literary Tradition at the Library of Congress."
Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfashan (April 5, 2012)
Rudi Matthee spoke about his new book "Persia in Crisis: Safavid Decline and the Fall of Isfahan
Jerusalem: A Photographic Journey (February 24, 2012)
Nawal A. Kawar and John F. Buydos, reference librarians at the Library of Congress, presented a brief history of Jerusalem illustrated with photos and slides.
Islam Through Western Eyes (February 16, 2012)
According to author Jonathan Lyons, the Western view of Islam has prevented the West from responding effectively to its most significant 21st-century challenges: the rise of Islamic power, the emergence of religious violence, and the growing tension between established social values and multicultural rights among Muslim immigrant populations. Lyons addresses the issues of Islam and modernity, Islam and violence, and Islam and women and proposes new ways of thinking about the Western relationship to the Islamic world.
Presentation of Kyrgyz Book (November 20, 2013)
Along with a Kyrgyz delegation, Muratbek Imanaliev presented his latest book on Kyrgyzstan to Librarian of Congress James H. Billington.
Green Desert: Olzhas Suleimanov (November 5, 2013)
Poet and author Olzhas Suleimanov is regarded as one of Kazakhstan's and Central Asia's most influential intellectuals. He read from "Green Desert," the first comprehensive translation of his works into the English language. It provides a concise overview of his rich literary heritage and serves as an introduction to the contemporary literature of Kazakhstan and Eurasia.
The Armenian Language & its Place in the Indo-European Linguistic Family (September 19, 2013)
Charles de Lamberterie discusses the history of the Armenian language as part of the 17th Annual Vardanants Day celebration.
Cultural & Historical Perspectives on Iraqi Cuisine (September 12, 2013)
Two award-winning authors -- Annia Ciezadlo and Nawal Nasrallah -- discuss their work and Iraqi cuisine.
Understanding Egyptian Cuisine & Culture (September 4, 2013)
In this lecture, Amy Riolo defines Egyptian cuisine, explains how the food is central to Egyptian culture, and talks about food throughout Egyptian history.
Afghan Art and Architecture Through the Ages (August 6, 2013)
Hamid Naweed spoke about his new book, "Art Through the Ages in Afghanistan," a study of the pictorial and sculpting arts from the the prehistoric period to the Islamic era in Afghanistan.
Muhammed ibn Dawud: The Man of Our Times & the Abbassid Language of Brotherhood (July 25, 2013)
Jennifer Tobkin discusses Muhammad ibn Dawud al-Isfahani (d. 297/909), compiler of an anthology of poetry called "Kitab al-Zahra" ("The Book of the Flower") and author of some 500 lines of poetry in it as well as commentary on poems by other poets. Ibn Dawud is arguably more famous for the legend that he died from love for a male friend than for any of his own writings. As early as the 11th century, biographical dictionaries such as "Ta'rikh Baghdad" told the story of Ibn Dawud's writing those poems of his which appear in "Kitab al-Zahra" for a man who did not reciprocate Ibn Dawud's feelings for him and eventually dying from this unrequited love.
The Sufi Ritual in the New Theater (June 19, 2013)
Sudanese actor and director Ali Mahdi discusses how theater, music and drama have an invaluable role in promoting dialogue and supporting peacekeeping processes.
Egypt, the Arab World & the Future (June 12, 2013)
Ismail Serageldin spoke of the dissonance between the Islamic world and the West and explained some of the reasons for this dissonance. He also made the case for the importance of Egypt. What happens in Egypt he argued, affects what happens in the Arab world, which in turn influences what happens in the rest of the Muslim world, and consequently impacts the relationship between these countries and the Western world. He argued that the "new generation of texters, bloggers, Facebook and Twitter devotees" want an open, free and democratic society -- and he maintained that there is nothing more powerful than an idea whose time has come.
Development of Transjordan During the 19th Century (May 30, 2013)
Raouf Abujaber discusses the development of Transjordan during the 19th century.
Arabetics: Arabic Language & Script History, Typography & Computing (May 28, 2013)
Saad Abulhab gave a lecture called "Arabetics: Arabic Language and Script History, Typography, and Computing."
Life & Works of Naguib Mahfuz Symposium (May 14, 2013)
Egyptian author and screen playwright Naguib Mahfuz (1911-2006), the 1988 Nobel Prize Laureate in Literature, is the subject of this international symposium co-sponsored with the Egyptian Embassy. Part 2, afternoon sessions, included remarks by William Hutchins, Valerie Anishchenkova, Ahmed Shams Al-Din Hajjaji and Mohamed Helmy El Borai.
Marefa: The On-Line Arabic Encyclopedia (April 16. 2013)
An examination of Marefa, an online Arabic encyclopedia, by its creator, Nayel Shafei
From Mecca to Mashhad: A Lithographed Shiite Pilgrimage Scroll from Iran (April 10, 2013)
A Nowruz lecture featuring Ulrich Marzolph speaking about a lithographed Shiite pilgrimage scroll from Qajar, Iran.
Shahnameh: The Epic of the Persian Kings (March 20, 2013)
Hamid Rahmanian presented an innovative version of Ferdowsi's Shahnameh "The Epic of the Persian Kings" based on illustrations from thousands of Iranian, Mughal Indian, and Ottoman manuscripts.
The Loss and Rebirth of the Library of Alexandria (March 8, 2013)
Renowned thinker, writer and speaker Ismail Serageldin discusses the restoration of the Library of Alexandria.
The Knowledge Revolution and the Future of Libraries (March 8, 2013)
Ismail Serageldin speaks on the transformation of knowledge and how it will impact the future of libraries.
The Grand Museum, Egypt (March 1, 2013)
Muhammad Gamal discusses Egypt's Grand Museum.
Women in Lebanon: Living Together and Facing Modernity (February 25, 2013)
Marie-Claude Thomas of the United States Naval Academy discusses "Women in Lebanon: Living Together and Facing Modernity."
Tajik Manuscripts & Their Conservation in Tajikistan (January 17, 2013)
A lecture on the Tajik manuscripts and their conservation in Tajikistan followed a presentation of the book "The Tajik Golden Heritage" to the Library of Congress.
The New Generation of Modern Arab Women (January 16, 2013)
Judith Hornok describes a new image of the Arab world, the modern generation of Arab women.
Cultures Without Borders: From Beirut to Washington, D.C. (December 10, 2014)
May Rihani spoke about her book "Cultures Without Borders: From Beirut to Washington, D.C.," a memoir on girls' education, women's empowerment and common ground among diverse cultures.
A Thousand Years of the Persian Book: A Curator's Tour (September 18, 2014)
The exhibition "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" opened in March 2014 and ended in September 2014. Hirad Dinavari gives a guided tour showcasing the most exquisite Persian manuscripts, lithographs, early imprints and modern printed works in the Library's collections.
The World of Persian Literary Humanism: Spreading Culture through Books (September 17, 2014)
As part of the Library's celebration of a thousand years of the Persian book. Dr.Hamid Dabashi discusses Persian literary humanism and how Persian culture was spread through books
Forough Farrokhzhad's Biography & Unpublished Letters (August 27, 2014)
Farzaneh Milani from the University of Virginia discussed her book about famous Iranian poet, Forough Farokhzhad, and her unpublished letters.
The Persian Book in Pre-Modern Turkey (August 13, 2014)
As part of the Library's celebration of a thousand years of the Persian book, Ahmet Karamustafa discusses Persian literature in pre-modern Turkey.
The Printing Press as an Agent of Tradition in Iran (July 23, 2014)
Ulrich Marzolph spoke about printed materials in 19th Century Iran.
Yemen's Unknown Treasure: Traditional Silver Jewelry of Bedouin & Tribal Women (July 15, 2014)
Marjorie Ransom discussed traditional silver jewelry of Bedouin and tribal women in Yemen. Her book, "Silver Treasures from the Land of Sheba" documents her exploration of the significance of a woman's handmade jewelry with its attributes of power, protection, beauty and personal identity. This is the first in-depth study of Yemeni silver, uniquely illustrated with over 300 photographs.
Images & Observations: Faces of Egypt (June 26, 2014)
For ten years, photographer Deborah Shea Doyle traveled throughout Egypt- from bustling Cairo to remote parts of the Sinai region- to explore the landscape and learn about the lives of ordinary Egyptians, especially the Bedouins. She visited large cities and small villages and traversed through the country's inaccessible areas, which presented her with a gold mine of opportunities to capture and record interesting faces of people she encountered along the way. Her splendid collection of photographs of ordinary Egyptian men, women, and children as they work and play in their everyday lives, invites readers to discover Egypt and its people as they have not been seen before. The humanity captured through her expert lens is matched by an engaging text and observations that give readers insight into the local customs and habits.
The Wide World of Persian: Connections and Contestations, 1500-Today (May 2, 2014)
This conference examines this period that includes not only aspects of cohesion and fracture but also renewal and reconstitution of the Persian-speaking world. The period from early modern to contemporary times features some of the defining moments in the lifespan and legacy of the Persian world. This was a period that witnessed immense interchange and connection at the height of the Ottoman, Safavid, and Mughal Empires. This was also a period marked by connections and contestations between the different peoples and places for whom engagement with Persian remained a crucial enterprise. Long-standing trans-regional currents and emergent local trends produced both broad similarities and stark contrasts regarding the role of Persian literary and cultural norms for different peoples and places. The participants -- Fatemeh Keshavarz, Kevin Schwartz, Amin Tarzi, Muriel Atkin, Wazhmah Osman, Pardis Minuchehr, Willem Floor and Corey Miller -- were asked to consider how connections and contestations around language, literature and culture helped define the shifting contours of the wide world of Persian at different moments and places.
Fighting Pediatric Cancer in Iran (June 30, 2014)
Saideh Ghods spoke about her work with pediatric cancer in Iran. She spoke in Persian and was translated.
The Persian Book: Animation & Illustration (June 25, 2014)
Illustrator, animator, and painter Rashin Kheiriyeh discusses animation and illustration as part of the Library's exhibition, "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book."
Woven Worlds & Painted Pictures: The Persian Book in India (June 11, 2014)
Sunil Sharma discussed the Persian book in India.
When Ink and Color Meet: The Art of Painting in the Shahnameh (Book of Kings) (May 21, 2014)
Massumeh Farhad participated in the Library's "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" exhibit with her lecture on painting in the Shahnameh
Persian Mystical Literature (May 7. 2014)
Fatemeh Keshavarz from the University of Maryland and Jessika Kenney from the Cornish College of the Arts discussed Persian mystical literature as part of a lecture series accompanying the "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" exhibition
An Anthropologist Looks Back on Decades Living in the Middle East (April 30, 2014)
Andrea Rugh reflects on her years living and working as an anthropologist in the Middle East.
The Persian Book of Kings: Vicissitudes of a Foundational Text in Iranian Culture (April 25, 2014)
Ahmad Karimi-Hakkak discussed "The Persian Book of Kings" as part of the Library's "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" exhibition.
DNA & the Origins of Peoples: The Armenians (April 22, 2014)
Hovann Simonian and Peter Hrechdakian delivered the 18th Annual Vardanants Day Armenian lecture on their work using social media to expand the nonprofit Armenian DNA Project, a Facebook group of more than 1,000 members around the world involved in researching Armenian family history through genetic testing.
A Thousand Years of the Persian Book (March 27, 2014)
This lecture launched the "A Thousand Years of the Persian Book" exhibition at the Library of Congress. The rich literary tradition of the Persian language over the last millennium was discussed. From illuminated manuscripts to contemporary publications, the exhibition will bring attention to the literary achievements of Iran and the greater Persian-speaking regions of Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Central and South Asia and the Caucasus.
The Sultan's Kitchen: A History of Turkish Cuisine (March 26, 2014)
Sheilah Kaufman shares her great passion for richly flavored, no-fuss food in this presentation on the history of Turkish cooking.
The Golden Treasures of King Tut (January 15, 2014)
Nevine H. Tolba discussed the Egyptian museum and the archaeological findings from the tomb of King Tutankhamun in Egypt.
Perspectives on Islamic Law Reform (December 8, 2015)
In recognition of Human Rights Day, a panel of distinguished Islamic scholars discussed Islamic law reform.
Speaker Biography: Issam Saliba is a foreign law specialist in the Law Library of Congress.
Speaker Biography: Kristen A. Stilt is a professor at Harvard Law School and co-director of the university's Islamic Legal Studies program.
Speaker Biography: Intisar A. Rabb is a professor at Harvard Law School and co-director of the university's Islamic Legal Studies program.
Speaker Biography: Sherman Jackson is King Faisal Chair
Classified as White: Historical Insights into the Racial Classifications of Americans of Middle Eastern & North African Descent (November 4, 2015)
.Randa A. Kayyali from the Elliott School for International Affairs at George Washington University spoke about the intersections of religion and race for immigrants in the U.S. during the first half of the 20th century.
Of Kings & Cavemen: Museums, Museology & Elite Nationalism in Egypt Under the Monarchy (October 22, 2015)
Peter Wien discusses museums, museology and elite nationalism in Egypt under the monarchy.
Madame Parliamentarian (October 8, 2015)
"Madame Parliamentarian," a short documentary film depicting women's active participation in Lebanon's political life, explores the reasons behind this situation and examines solutions adopted by other countries to increase the number of women in political leadership.
Flora & Flowers of Jordan (July 30, 2015)
Dawud Al-Eisawi discusses the flora and flowers of Jordan.
Promoting Arab Culture Through Translation (June 25, 2015)
Writer, poet and business owner Faiza Sultan discusses the promotion of Arab culture through translation.
The Ancient City of Tyre: Evening Event (June 3, 2015)
Following upon a day-long sympoisum on the ancient city of Tyre, an evening event included speeches, a display of books on the city of Tyre and presentation of awards.
The Ancient City of Tyre (June 3, 2015)
This symposium explores on the ancient city of Tyre, founded in 2750 B.C. by the Phoenicians, who created an alphabet and the first democracy in the world with a parliament and senate elected directly by the citizens. Tyre is the legendary birthplace of Europa, the daughter of the King of Tyre, the namesake of Europe. The city and the civilization was left in ruins by Alexander the Great who went to war against the Tyreans.
Ara Dinkjian & Zulal: Traditional Armenian Music & Song (May 28, 2015)
In Armenian, Zulal means "clear water". Zulal, the New York-based a cappella trio, takes Armenia's village folk melodies and weaves intricate arrangements that pay tribute to the rural roots of the music while introducing contemporary lyricism and energy. The trio celebrates the trials and joys of old Armenian village life: Budding romances in elevated gardens, the disappointments of hapless suitors, secret messages placed upon the western winds, the moonlit faces of shepherd boys and their brides
Zulal Trio & Ara Dinkjian Oral History (May 28, 2015)
Members of the Zulal Trio discuss the history of the group and their music..
American Humanitarianism in the Armenian Crucible: 1915-1923 (May 7, 2015)
Susan B. Harper delivered the 19th Annual Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture featuring historical photographs from the Library's collection as well as those of other institutions.
The History of the Acts of St. John the Evangelist (April 8, 2015)
An exquisitely illuminated manuscript of the Life of St. John the Evangelist was bequeathed to the Library as part of the papers of the stage and film director Rouben Mamoulian. Levon Avdoyan discusses the manuscript.
The Naqab Bedouin & Colonialism: New Perspectives (April 6, 2015)
Mansour Nasasra and Sophie Richter-Devroe discussed their book, describing the historic isolation of Naqab Bedouin studies from the rest of Palestine studies by situating, studying and analyzing their predicaments firmly within the contemporary context of Israeli settler-colonial policies. They offer a nuanced description and analysis of Naqab Bedouin activism and describe settler-colonial power structures.
The Woman Who Read Too Much (April 2, 2015)
Bahiyyih Nakhjavani speaks about her novel, "The Woman Who Read Too Much." Set in the world of the Qajar monarchs, mayors, ministers and mullahs, this book explores 19th century Iran and tells a gripping tale of a pioneering woman.
Lubana Al Quntar & Kenan Adnawi: Traditional Music and Song from Syria (March 25, 2015)
In this concert Lubana Al Quntar performs classical Arabic Maqam pieces with a melancholy flavor, characteristic of this genre. She is accompanied by the internationally known oud player Kenan Adnawi, who also presents traditional instrumental music of Syria.
An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia (March 17, 2015)
Seyyed Hossein Nasr from George Washington University and Mehdi Aminrazavi from the University of Mary Washington College discuss philosophy in Persia.
Gentile Bellini's Drawings of Ottomans: Italian Art Serving the Sultans (March 11, 2015)
Rosamond Mack discussed "Gentile Bellini's Drawings of Ottomans: Italian Art Serving the Sultans."
In Pursuit of Heritage: Tracing Early Elements of Islamic Architecture (November 16, 2016)
Architectural historian and conservationist Rana Al Kadi spoke about the history of Islamic architecture from its origins in Damascus to North Africa, Spain and Turkey.
The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey (November 14, 2016)
Laila El-Haddad and Maggie Schmitt discusses their book "The Gaza Kitchen: A Palestinian Culinary Journey."
Persophilia: Persian Culture on the Global Scene (November 9, 2016)
Hamid Dabashi discussed his book, "Persophilia: Persian Culture on the Global Scene."
The Return of the Masters: Connections, Contestations & Redrawing of Persian Literary History (October 25, 2016)
As part of the Library's lecture series on the Persian book, Kevin Schwartz discusses Persian literary history.
Isfahan to Irvine (October 18, 2016)
Hossein Omoumi discussed his documentary film on the ney, a Persian musical instrument.
Evolution of Persian Calligraphy (September 13, 2016)
Mehdi Saeedi spoke about his latest work in calligraphy.
Gender & Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage (August 30, 2016)
Ida Meftahi discussed her book, "Gender and Dance in Modern Iran: Biopolitics on Stage.
Rahim AlHaj Trio: Middle Eastern Music from New Mexico (July 28, 2016)
The Rahim AlHaj Trio features traditional middle eastern music on the oud (Arabic lute) and antour (hammered dulcimer).
The Assyrian Legacy: From Ancient Civilization to Today's Cultural Revival (June 10, 2016)
The Library presented “The Assyrian Legacy: From Ancient Civilization to Today's Cultural Revival”
a daylong symposium on the ancient Assyrian civilization and its contemporary manifestation. Watch three sessions:
Session 1: The Assyrian Legacy in the Cradle of Civilization
Session 2: The Assyrian Christian, Past & Present
Session 3: Asyrian Diaspora in the Middle East
The Arbeelys: The Double Life of the First Syrian Immigrant Family (June 7, 2016)
Linda K. Jacobs discusses the story of the first Syrian immigrant family to the United States.
The Orthodox Church in Georgia Since Independence (June 2, 2016)
Paul Crego spoke about his research on the Orthodox Church in Georgia, including the writings and speeches of Zviad Gamsaxurdia, who was concerned with the spiritual health of the nation and with the state of the Georgian Orthodox Church.
Lost Enlightenment: Central Asia's Golden Age from the Arab Conquest to Tamerlane (May 5, 2016)
Fred Starr discusses his book on central Asia's golden age, from the Arab conquest to Tamerlane.
Witness, Aleppo: Armenian, Assyrian & Arab Music, Stories & Images from Pre-war Syria (April 22, 2016)
Jason Hamacher discussed how he stumbled into a serious fascination with Syria's endangered spiritual traditions
Children's Song Writer: Life & Work of Abbas Yamini Sharif (April 19, 2016)
Iranian director Homan Yamini Sharif discussed his documentary, "Children's Songwriter" about the life of Persian poet Abbas Yamini Sharif. The film gives a brief history of children's literature in modern Iran.
The Sultan's Gift: Book Diplomacy in the Early Hamidian Period (April 7, 2016)
Guy Burak spoke about his work with the Abdul Hamid collection, a reflection of the Ottoman Empire during the reign of one of its last sultans, Abdul-Hamid II.
Afghan Women's Poems Inspire (March 31, 2016)
Mahnaz Rezaie represented the Afghan Women's Writing Project (AWWP) during a conversation where poetry and visual art was shared. Part of the Persian Book Lecture Series, presented in collaboration with the Roshan Institute for Persian Studies at the University of Maryland.
Analysis & Curation of American Travelers' Visual Documents on Central Asian Nomadic Culture (March 23, 2016)
Saule Satayeva discussed her archival research related to American travelers who illuminated Kazakh Nomadic culture through their visual documents from 1876-1937.
Lyrics of Life: Sa'di on Love, Cosmopolitanism and Care of the Self (March 22, 2016)
Fatemeh Keshavarz discussed her new book on the mediaeval Persian lyrical poet Sa'di: "Lyrics of Life: Sa'di on Love, Cosmopolitanism and Care of the Self." This program was the opening lecture of a Persian book lecture series, held during the Nowruz season which celebrates the arrival of spring.
Muslimism in Turkey & Beyond: Religion in the Modern World (March 8, 2016)
Neslihan Cevik discussed Muslimism in Turkey and its relation to religion in the modern world with a special focus on women
Afghan Media Resource Center Gift to the Library of Congress (February 16, 2016)
The Afghan Media Resource Center has given the Library of Congress 48 hard drives worth of audio, video and photographic footage, content and culturally unique materials on Afghanistan. These materials were presented by Haji Sayed Daud to Acting Librarian of Congress David S. Mao.
Mapping a Persian Literary Sphere, 1500-1900 (November 17, 2017)
In this presentation Kevin Schwartz uses tazkirahs—authoritative collections of Persian literary works&mdashto map divergent conceptualizations of the world of Persian literary culture. By connecting tazkirahs to one another through their geographically and historically diverse use of documented sources and methods of cataloguing and classification, Schwartz shines light on how different individuals demarcated the conceptual and geographic boundaries of the nineteenth century Persianate world and shows the hidden value of the tazkirah genre as a historical source for documenting the intellectual, social, and cultural life in the wider Persianate world.
Tracking the Provenance of Printing in Afghanistan (1871-78) (November 16, 2017)
Elham Bakhtary investigated the lithographs' literary influences and argued that the lithographs espoused a unique ethno-Islamic ideology that challenged the substance of Islamic revivalism in India, but also employed the latter's technological and discursive methods in doing so. The lecture concluded with how this similarity suggests that ideas and print technology in South Asia traveled along similar itineraries in the 19th century.
The Genesis of Print in Afghanistan During the Reign of Amir Sher Ali Khan (October 19, 2017)
Elham Bakhtary discussed the genesis of print in Afghanistan during the reign of Amir Sher Ali Khan (1871-77)
When in the Arab World (October 12, 2017)
Rana F. Nejem discusses her book, "When in the Arab World: An Insider's Guide to Living & Working with Arab Culture."
Life of Laura Clifford Dreyfus-Barney (September, 20, 2017)
Mona Khademi offered a glimpse into the life of Laura Clifford Dreyfus-Barney and her connections with Iran and Iranians.
The Life & Antecedents of a Peripatetic Persian: Culture and Society in the Last Years of the Qajar Dynasty (September 9, 2017)
Fereydoun Ala discusses culture and society in the last years of Persia's Qajar dynasty (1785 to 1925).
Persian Manuscripts in India: Collections, Collectors & Their Future (July 11, 2017)
Chander Shekhar spoke about the Persian manuscript tradition from India.
From Oxus to Euphrates: Sasanian Empire Symposium (June 7, 2017)
Several experts participated in an all-day symposium on the legacy of the ancient Persian Sasanian empire (224-651 A.D.). The Sasanians ruled a large empire in Central and Western Asia, stretching from the Oxus River to the Euphrates and from the Hindukush to Eastern Arabia, for over 400 years (224-651 B.C.). Known as Iranshahr (the Domain of Iran), it was a powerful empire that engendered much of what came to be known as the Iranian culture in the medieval and modern periods.
Never Tell An Arab Poet Not To Write (May 4, 2017)
Waed Athamneh discussed her book "Modern Arabic Poetry" about the impact of past and contemporary Middle Eastern politics on its poetry.
The Economic Transition that Tunisia's Democratic Transition Deserves (April 27, 2017)
Stephen J. King discussed his research on Tunisia's economy during its democratic transition.
The Poetry of Jawdat Haydar in a Transnational Framework (April 13, 2017)
Carol Fadda discussed her research on Arab American literature and cultures, critical race and ethnic studies, transnational and diaspora studies.
Kamal al Mulk & the Invention of the Modern Iranian Landscape (April 11, 2017)
Layla Diba spoke about Kamal al Mulk, Iran's first modern painter in the 19th century Qajar dynasty and the modernizing trends in Iranian contemporary painting tradition.
Islam: Facts & Fictions (April 6, 2017)
Chase Robinson discussed his work on the history of Islamic civilization.
Discovery of the Secret of the Great Pyramid & the Tomb of Tutankhamun (March 30, 2017)
Mamdouh Eldamaty discusses his exploration of the tomb of Tutankhamun, a research venture supported by the Egyptian Ministry of Antiquities.
Pomegranates & Saffron: A Culinary Journey to Azerbaijan (March 15, 2017)
Author and food blogger Feride Buyuran discussed her book, "Pomegranates and Saffron," the first comprehensive cookbook on Azerbaijani cuisine published in the U.S. The book contains recipes of traditional and modern Azerbaijani dishes including appetizers and salads, soups and stews, vegetarian dishes, pasta dishes, and desserts, all adapted for preparation in a Western kitchen.
Islamic Architecture & Its Relevance to Human Daily Needs (February 21, 2017)
Heba Abdelnabi from the University of Alexandria, Egypt discussed her work in Islamic architecture. Event cosponsored by the Egyptian Embassy's Cultural and Educational Affairs Office.
Business & Entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia (February 15, 2017)
Edward Burton discussed his work with the American and Saudi public and private sectors to promote the interests of U.S.-Saudi Arabian bilateral relationships.
Icons of the Coptic Church (January 25, 2017)
Evelyn Rophael gives a presentation about the 2,000 year history of Christian icons of Egypt, including her own experience as a Coptic iconographer.
Domes, Arches and Minarets (September 12, 2018)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division, The Library of Congress presented Domes, Arches and Minarets. Acclaimed photo-journalist Phil Pasquini examined 200 years of inspired Islamic architecture in America.
Sympoiusm on Ancient Oman: Morning session | Afternoon session (April 24, 2018)
The symposium was sponsored in partnership with the Sultan Qaboos Cultural Center. Speakers included Mark Kenoyer is professor of anthropology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Eli Dollarhide is a doctoral student working together with Zenobie S. Garett in the department of anthropology at New York University on a project to map Magan; Kimberly D. Williams is associate professor of anthropology at Temple University and director of Social, Spatial and Bioarchaeological Historical Studies of Oman; and, Said bin Nasser Alsalmi is director general of the Office of the Adviser to His Majesty the Sultan for Cultural Affairs of Oman. Related blog post: Ancient Oman: Archaeological Digs and Historical Discoveries in the Sultanate of Oman
Have the Mountains Fallen? Two Journeys of Loss & Redemption in the Cold War (April 18, 2018)
Author Jeffrey B. Lilley presents "Have the Mountains Fallen: Two Journeys of Loss and Redemption in the Cold War," co-sponsored by the Embassy of the Kyrgyz Republic.
History of the Arabic Press in the U.S. (April 12, 2018)
Edmund Ghareeb discusses the history of the Arabic press in the United States.
Popular Iranian Cinema Before the Revolution (April 4, 2018)
Pedram Partovi discusses popular Iranian cinema before that country's Islamic revolution.
Snapshots of Ottoman Women in Court Records (March 13, 2018)
Betül Basaran discussed views of Ottoman women via contemporary court records.
A Scribe with a View: the Construction of Knowledge in the Ancient and Islamic Medieval Periods (November 7, 2019)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division hosted a talk by Dr. Myriam Wyssa, Senior Researcher at the University of London.
Investing in Culture: Urban Regeneration and Sustainability in the Kingdom of Bahrain (September 27, 2019)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division hosted a talk by former Minister of Culture and current President of the Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities, H.E. Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa.
The Ancient Alexandria Library Anew for the 21st Century (July 24, 2019)
The Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division and the Friends of the Biblioethca Alexandria, Maryland, Virginia and DC, presented a talk by Heba El-Rafey, Director of Public Relations and International Communications at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.
Cartographic History of Afghanistan (June 4, 2019)
The African and Middle Eastern Division, Asian, and Geography & Map Division co-hosted a talk by Dr. Shah Mahmoud Hanifi, author and professor of history at the James Madison University.
Persian Language Rare Materials Digitization Project (May 10, 2019)
The Near East Section of the division presented a symposium: Persian Language Rare Materials Digitization Project. The two-panel program offers conversations with experts and library specialists focusing on how Persian manuscripts contribute to the study of language, literature, culture and art history, and how the Library digitizes unique collections and utilizes digital content for outreach and education.
Ottoman Princess Brides: Princess Niloufer in Hyderabad and a Visual Journey of Exile (March 12, 2019)
In celebration of Women's History Month, the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division hosted a presentation by Betül Basaran, Associate Professor of Religious Studies, St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Sharing a Table: Commensality in Middle Eastern And North African Cookbooks (July 19, 2022)
On July 19 and 20, 2022, the African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) hosted a symposium, "Religious Practices, Transmission, and Literacies in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia." The symposium featured the presentations of seven scholars who conducted two-week research residencies in the AMED Reading Room between June 1 and July 15, 2022. The residencies and symposium are part of the Exploring Challenging Conversations project generously funded by a planning grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The purpose of the initiative was to enhance public awareness of cross-regional and intercultural religious understanding in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and their global diaspora. Heather J. Sharkey is Professor and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania, where she teaches Middle Eastern and North African history, and where she received the Charles Ludwig Distinguished Teaching Award from the College of Arts and Sciences.
Morphing Magi: An Armenian Menologium in Context (July 20, 2022)
On July 19 and 20, 2022, the African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) hosted a symposium, "Religious Practices, Transmission, and Literacies in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia." The symposium featured the presentations of seven scholars who conducted two-week research residencies in the AMED Reading Room between June 1 and July 15, 2022. The residencies and symposium are part of the Exploring Challenging Conversations project generously funded by a planning grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The purpose of the initiative was to enhance public awareness of cross-regional and intercultural religious understanding in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and their global diaspora. Whitney A. Kite is a Ph.D. Candidate, Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University.
The Druze and the Kurds: Two Complex Minority Models in a Complex Region (July 20, 2022)
On July 19 and 20, 2022, the African and Middle Eastern Division (AMED) hosted a symposium, "Religious Practices, Transmission, and Literacies in Africa, the Middle East, and Central Asia." The symposium featured the presentations of seven scholars who conducted two-week research residencies in the AMED Reading Room between June 1 and July 15, 2022. The residencies and symposium are part of the Exploring Challenging Conversations project generously funded by a planning grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc. The purpose of the initiative was to enhance public awareness of cross-regional and intercultural religious understanding in Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, and their global diaspora. Ori Z. Soltes teaches in Georgetown University's Center for Jewish Civilization across disciplines, from art history and theology to philosophy and political history. He is the former Director and Curator of the B'nai B'rith Klutznick National Jewish Museum and has curated more than 90 exhibitions there and in other venues across the country and overseas. He is also the author of over 300 books, articles, exhibition catalogs, and essays on diverse topics.
In conjunction with the 2014 exhibition: “A Thousand Years of the Persian Book” at the Library of Congress, the African and Middle Eastern Division teamed up with Roshan Persian Studies Institute at University of Maryland to co-host thirteen lectures and a symposium on various aspects of the Persian language, and the book making traditions. The majority of these lectures took place at the Library and the others were held at the University of Maryland. Most of these lectures were filmed and are available to view online.
The Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture series was created soon after Mrs. Dadian's bequest (1991) to the Library for the health and maintenance of the Armenian collections and the subsequent employment of a new Armenian area specialist in 1993. The Near East Section planned the series to highlight all aspects of Armenian life and culture and the role of the Library of Congress' collections in the study of all things Armenian.
The series itself is named after the Armenian holiday that commemorates the battle of Avarayr (AD 451) which was waged by the Armenian commander- in- chief Vardan Mamikonian and his compatriots against Persian troops, which had been sent by the King of Kings in an attempt to reimpose Zoroastrianism on the Christian state. Although primarily a religious holiday, it also celebrates as well Armenia's success in its millennia-long struggles against various forces of assimilation.
8th: Twenty-Six Months in the Reborn Republic of Armenia: My Mission as the First U.S. Ambassador to Armenia (April 19, 2000) [video not available]
Speaker: Ambassador Harry J. Gilmore (Retired) (view a text transcript of the 8th Vardanants Day lecture)
7th: The First (1918-1921) and Present (1991-) Republics of Armenia: Does History Repeat Itself (April 7, 1999) [video not available]
Speaker: Professor Richard G. Hovannisian UCLA
6th: The Meliks of Karabagh: An Armenian History (April 23, 1998) [video not available]
Speaker: Professor Robert H. Hewsen Rowan University
5th: Religion in the Republic of Armenia (June 3, 1997) [video not available]
Speakers: The Very Reverend Father Krikor H. Maksoudian Director, Krikor and Clara Zohrab Armenian Information Center New York, NY
4th: Nation-making, Nation-breaking, and the End of Empire: A New Perspective on the Events of 1915 (May 1, 1996) [video not available]
Speaker: Professor Ronald G. Suny University of Chicago
3rd: Iranian Elements in Early Armenian Christianity (April 7, 1995) [video not available]
Speaker: Dr. Nina G. Garsoïan Professor emerita, Columbia University
2nd: Religion in the Republic of Armenia (February 11, 1994) [video not available]
Speakers: The Very Reverend Father Krikor H. Maksoudian Director, and Clara Zohrab Armenian Information Center New York, NY [NB: Lecture canceled after all government buildings were closed due to a severe snow storm. Father Krikor's lecture became Vardanants Lecture number 5]
1st: Armenian Manuscripts, Monasteries and Miracles in the Middle Ages (February 12, 1993) [video not available]
Speaker: Professor Lucy Der Manuelian Tufts University
15th: The Story Behind the Stamp (September 28, 2010)
Speaker: Kim Therault talks about Arshile Gorky's Stamp and the development of abstract expressionism.
14th: The Unknown Saroyan: Dickran Kouymjian (September 15, 2009)
Speaker: Dickran Kouymjian; this lecture was dedicated to the celebration of the centenary of Pulitzer Prize-winning Armenian author William Saroyan's birth.
13th: Conversation with Our First Five Ambassadors (September 27, 2007)
United States-Armenian Relations, 1991-2006.
12th: Diplomacy and the Armenian Factor (April 28, 2005)
Speaker: Edward Alexander, retired Foreign Service officer and author.
11th: The U.S. Congress and Armenia Today (May 21, 2003) [video not available]
Speaker: Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (D, NJ) Co-chair, Congressional Caucus on Armenian Issues.
10th: Reflections on Armenia's Place in the Region and in The World (April 22, 2002)
Speaker: Michael C. Lemmon, Dean, School of Language Studies (FSI).
9th: The Sharakan: Crown Jewel of the Armenian Liturgy (April 16, 2001)
Speaker: Sahan Arzruni. This sound and slide presentation features renowned pianist, composer and teacher Arzruni. He lectures on the Sharakan, the Armenian hymnal, and performs two recital pieces: Dances (1903-1916) by Komitas and Elegy (1978) by Arno Babadjanian.
22nd: New Topics in Armenian History and Culture: Morning Session | Afternoon Session (June 26, 2018)
Several speakers explored the linguistic, artistic, social and musical history of Armenia.
21st: Echoes of Anatolia: An Armenian-American Novelist Discovers his Literary DNA at Mid-Life (September 1, 2017)
Speaker: Best-selling Armenian-American author Chris Bohjalian discusses the influence of ethnic identity on literary creativity.
20th: A World Monument: Zvart'nots', Armenia, & the Wars of the Seventh Century (September 21, 2016)
Speaker: Christina Maranci sets the construction of an iconic 7th century church within the context of its times.
19th: American Humanitarianism in the Armenian Crucible: 1915-1923 (May 7, 2015)
Speaker: Susan B. Harper discussed historical photographs from the Library's collection as well as those of other institutions.
18th: DNA & the Origins of Peoples: The Armenians (April 22, 2014)
Speakers: Peter Hrechdakian and Hovann Simonian, Co-Administrators of the Armenian DNA Project
17th: The Armenian Language & its Place in the Indo-European Linguistic Family (September 19, 2013)
Speaker: Charles de Lamberterie discusses the history of the Armenian language.
16th: Armenian Literary Identity (April 19, 2012)
Speaker: Kevork Bardakjian presented "Scribes, Compositors and the Mind in the Making: the Armenian Script and the Creation of an Armenian Literary Identity." Levon Avdoyan discussed "The Continuity and Change of an Armenian Identity in the Digital Age." Following the lectures, participants visited the new exhibition, "To Know Wisdom and Instruction: The Armenian Literary Tradition at the Library of Congress."
A Conversation with Peter Balakian (May 16, 2022)
The Vardanants Day Armenian Lecture series was created soon after Mrs. Dadian's bequest (1991) to the Library for the health and maintenance of the Armenian collections and is one of the longest running lecture series in the Library. For the 2022 iteration of the series, the Near East Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division proposes a poetry reading and discussion on erasure, resilience and poetry. The conversation on these themes is central to many communities in the United States, and has received increased national attention in recent years. The event aims at exploring the Armenian, African American, and Native American experiences of cultural erasure and resilience through the work of three poets.