April 23, 2017

Al-Tikriti Joins MSF Association Event in Portland

As part of his duties as vice president of MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti joined an MSF Association open board meeting, hub gathering and Association retreat in Portland, Oregon. The event took place Feb. 3-4 and consisted of two days of reflective sessions on operations, human resources, labor policy, institutional racism and other issues of associative interest.

Al-Tikriti Joins MESA Panel Discussion on Ottoman Seas

On Friday, Nov. 18, Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti served as the discussant for the second of two panels titled “Ottoman Seas,” which took place in Boston at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference. As the panel discussant, Al-Tikriti placed the panel papers within the context of the field, critiqued the papers’ content and structure, and provided additional perspective on the arguments presented. This panel attendance was supported by a CAS Dean’s Office Faculty Supplemental Grant. On the way home from the conference, on Monday, Nov. 21, Al-Tikriti served as a grant reviewer for this year’s Fulbright-IIE research competition, at the Institute for International Education, in New York City.

The MESA conference panel announcement, presented below, can be reached here: https://mesana.org/mymesa/meeting_program_session.php?sid=f90e0e7f8bf5a54af89ee6e278d01a39.

Panel Summary: “Ottoman Seas” is a two-panel session that explores how the Ottomans imagined, constructed, and interacted with maritime space. As with every early modern empire, the limits of Ottoman territories were characterized by a degree of fluidity, more akin to flexible markers (Stuart Elden, The Birth of Territory). Much more so in the case of maritime realms, territorial ownership and control were regularly negotiated and reconstructed. Trying to avoid generalizations and blanket statements about big spatial units such as the Mediterranean, the session shifts attention to the specific components of the Ottoman seas: the Black Sea, the Adriatic, the Marmara Sea, the Aegean archipelago or the North African coast. Bringing together scholars who work on different facets of maritime interactions in these areas, we invite them to consider how maritime spaces were both geographically- as well as ideologically defined Ottoman entities. Participants will explore Ottoman seascapes on the basis of eyewitness accounts, collective experiences of sailors, pirates and statesman, as well as cartographical and architectural evidence. Enquiring into the military, economic and cultural nature of the Ottoman imaginations of the empire’s liquid frontiers, we aim to bring together studies of primary sources, and construct empirical and theoretical arguments building upon and contributing to, existing literature.

Paper Titles:

Panel Participants:

Palmira Brummett, Brown University, Chair.

Christine Isom-Verhaaren, Brigham Young University, Presenter.

Nabil Al-Tikriti, University of Mary Washington, Discussant.

Murat Menguc, Seton Hall University, Organizer; Presenter.
Joshua White, University of Virginia, Presenter.
Sona Tajiryan, University of California at Los Angeles, Presenter.

Fauquier Schools Consider Turkish Language Courses (Fauquier Now.com)

Al-Tikriti Joins Panel Discussion on Migration

In his capacity as Vice President of MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined a three-person panel to discuss global migration issues and MSF’s involvement in rescuing refugee populations in Philadelphia on Thursday, Nov. 10. Stephen Figge of MSF USA Communications led the panel discussion, and the other panelist was Mark Leirer, an American nurse who was recently on one of the three MSF rescue ships.  The discussion was preceded by a donor event, and the screening of a documentary film on European migration. The entire event took place at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, and was part of the concluding run of MSF USA’s “Forced From Home” Exhibit, which was staged in New York, Queens, Washington, Boston, Pittsburgh, and Philadelphia between September and November.

Previously, Al-Tikriti took his entire “History of Genocides” Freshman Seminar class to the exhibit when it was staged in Washington. For further information on the exhibit, which next should tour the West Coast in 2017, see: http:\forcedfromhome.com.

Al-Tikriti Monitors Montenegro Parliamentary Elections

On Oct. 11-18, Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of Middle Eastern history, served as an election monitor for the Montenegro parliamentary elections. Joining eight other Americans in the U.S. delegation, Al-Tikriti worked as an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) STO (Short Term Observer) in several rural villages and a provincial capital in the mountains, Mojkovac. His observation partner was a Russian diplomat based in Slovenia. For more information on these Belarus elections, and OSCE’s support of these elections, please see: http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/montenegro/245866.

In the course of his visit, Al-Tikriti also spent two days at the coastal town of Budva, where the OSCE observers carried out preliminary briefings, and spent a day surveying polling stations (see picture) while exploring several Montenegro churches, cemeteries and national parks.

Prof. Al-Tikriti surveys polling stations in Tara Canyon, Montenegro

Al-Tikriti Participates in Smithsonian Institution CRI Workshop

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti participated in the Integrating Humanitarian Response and Cultural Heritage in Disasters workshop on Oct. 6-7.  Sponsored by the Smithsonian Institution’s Cultural Rescue Initiative (CRI), the workshop was held at the National Museum of Natural History, in Washington, D.C.

On the first day, Al-Tikriti joined 26 other officials and experts in following presentations on cultural heritage protection in conflict and disaster zones, both domestic and international (including two presentations on efforts underway in Syria). On the second day, he provided a 15-minute response to the previous day’s presentations and discussions, before joining the other participants in deliberative breakout sessions.

Invited because of both his prior work on the looting of Iraqi manuscript collections following the 2003 Anglo-American-Australian invasion and his ongoing work with MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA, Al-Tikriti joined officials and representatives from the Smithsonian Institution, State Department, U.S. Institute of Peace, FEMA, American Red Cross, World Bank, National Endowment for the Humanities, National Park Service, National Guard, the Rose Museum at Brandeis University, George Washington University and the University of Pennsylvania to provide a variety of perspectives on potential institutional, legal and communication structures in the field of cultural rescue in the years to come.

Al-Tikriti Serves in Iraq and Ethiopia, Leads International Migration Workshop

During this past summer, Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti carried out several activities while continuing to actively serve as a member of the Board of Directors of Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)/Doctors Without Borders USA.

Prof. Al-Tikriti stands in front of armored car of President 'Abd al-Karim Qassim (d. 1963)

Prof. Al-Tikriti stands in front of the armored car of President ‘Abd al-Karim Qasim (d. 1963).

For three weeks in May and June, Al-Tikriti assisted MSF’s coordination team in Baghdad, Iraq, during the nearby launching of the Falluja siege and recapture campaign. Before returning to the U.S., he then participated in MSF France’s General Assembly in Paris.

Upon return to the U.S., Al-Tikriti chaired a panel on International Migration which he had earlier assembled and organized for the 2016 MSF USA General Assembly, in Brooklyn, N.Y. Panelists included Apostolos Veizis of MSF Greece, the Istanbul-based immigration rights activist Şenay Özden, MSF USA’s own MaryJo Frawley, and Els Debuf of the International Peace Institute. In the course of this assembly, Al-Tikriti was elected MSF USA’s 2016-2017 Board Vice President by his colleagues on the Board of Directors.

In late June and July, Al-Tikriti conducted an administrative mapping exercise while serving as Country Representative Assistant for a cross-sectional initiative in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. During that same period, he met with several colleagues at the University of Addis Ababa’s Department of History.

While completing his MSF reporting in Turkey with his family, Al-Tikriti was interviewed about the post-coup situation in that country by Katrina Dix of The Free Lance-Star, which resulted in the article, “UMW History Professor Caught Up in Turkey Tension,” on July 21, 2016.

Local professor caught up in Turkey tensions (The Free Lance-Star)

Al-Tikriti Speaks on BBC Live 5 Show

On Friday, April 29, UMW Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History and MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA Board Member Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke on BBC’s “Up All Night” radio program on BBC Radio 5 Live about the bombing of hospitals and other health facilities in Syria and other conflict zones.  In the course of his interview with BBC, Al-Tikriti addressed the difficulty of serving as a relief worker in conflict zones such as Syria, the dangers springing from multiple violations to International Humanitarian Law, and the potential breakdown of a partial ceasefire in Syria.

The interview can be accessed through Saturday, May 28, at the following link by listening to minutes 23:00-30:15: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07848m6.

Al-Tikriti Participates in Debate, Presents UMW in Turkey, more

In his capacity as a board member of the United States section of  MSF/Doctors Without Borders, Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history and American studies, participated in the annual Field Associative Debate (FAD) for MSF staff serving throughout Jordan, Syria, and Iraq, in Amman, on March 5-6.

This year’s regional FAD topic covered MSF’s “Medical Care Under Fire” initiative and MSF’s social and traditional media communications profile in the Middle East.  After debating this year’s topics, staff members then presented recommendations and motions for consideration by the MSF International General Assembly. Immediately prior to and following this year’s FAD, Prof. Al-Tikriti joined several colleagues on brief field visits to MSF projects in Za’atari Refugee Camp, al-Ramtha and Amman. Upon his return, he reviewed a FAD report and completed a brief memo on regional operations for internal review.

Prior to visiting Jordan, Al-Tikriti presented UMW’s cooperative academic programs to an audience of 200+ students and faculty at Istanbul Sabahettin Zaim Universitesi (IZU) in Istanbul, Turkey, on Feb. 25 (see picture). In the course of this presentation, it grew clear that there is great interest among IZU’s student body to study English as a Second Language, Education, and Business at UMW.

Shortly after his return to Virginia, Al-Tikriti made a presentation to students at the Georgetown University School of Medicine on March 21. Appearing with Prof. Daniel Neep of Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS), the event was titled The Syrian Conflict and Humanitarian Crisis: A Panel Discussion.” In the course of this presentation, he discussed MSF’s ongoing role in the Syrian civil war, as well as his personal experiences serving as Deputy Head of Mission with MSF in cross-border operations along the Turkish-Syrian border in 2013.

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