March 18, 2019

Nabil Al-Tikriti Monitors Presidential Elections in Georgia

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti served as an election monitor for the second round of the Georgia presidential elections, Nov. 24 – Dec.1. Joining 32 other Americans in the U.S. delegation some 250+ observers total, Al-Tikriti worked as an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) STO (Short Term Observer) in 8-9 rural villages and the main town in the somewhat remote mountains around Tsagera. His observation partner was a Czech diplomat based in Prague. For more information on these Georgian
elections, and OSCE’s support of these elections, please see: https://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/georgia/396326

In the course of his visit, Al-Tikriti also spent two days in Zestafoni, a former industrial base in central Georgia, and  two days in the capital Tbilisi, where observers carried out preliminary briefings. Upon the conclusion of the elections, he spent a day visiting a cave, churches, and historical sites around Kutaisi, Georgia’s second city.

In the election itself, backed by the ruling Georgian Dream party, Georgia elected its first female president, former French diplomat Salome Zurabishvili. She claimed victory over opposition candidate Grigol Vashadze, winning approximately 59% of the vote.

This is the 13th OSCE-monitored election Al-Tikriti has observed since 1997.

Al-Tikriti Presents UMW to Three American Centers in Azerbaijan

Prof. Al-Tikriti at Baku American Center

In October 2018, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti discussed the University of Mary Washington as a potential undergraduate destination to audiences at three American Centers in Azerbaijan.

Invited to discuss any topic he chose, Prof. Al-Tikriti decided to present his experiences at UMW for a local audience. Provided with the university’s undergraduate admissions powerpoint presentation, Al-Tikriti discussed UMW’s liberal arts curriculum, science facilities, and humanities philosophy — particularly in comparison with the Azerbaijani institutions he has recently come into contact with.

The first talk was on October 5 in Baku, before an audience of 25-30 youth. The second and third talks were on October 24, in Kurdemir (with 15-20 middle school children in attendance) and in Ganca (with 35-40 high school and college age youth in attendance).

These presentations came as part of Prof. Al-Tikriti’s year abroad in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he is currently leading a workshop on history pedagogy at Baku State University while starting to research early modern Caucasus history.

UMW History Professor Receives Fulbright (Fredericksburg Today)

Nabil Al-Tikriti Awarded Fulbright Scholar Grant

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti will spend the next 10 months researching centuries-old manuscripts and archives in Azerbaijan thanks to a prestigious 2018-2019 Fulbright U.S. Scholar grant.

Al-Tikriti will concentrate on 15th and 16th century intellectual history, Sufi movements and their connections to the significant political dynasties of the era in this Caucasus country that was once part of the Soviet Union. He’ll also teach Middle East history to university students in two Azerbaijani universities.

As Al-Tikriti stated, “this award is a great honor, and should provide an additional impetus to strengthening international education at UMW in the years to come. I hope to bring knowledge and contacts back from this experience, which will then further enrich UMW’s curriculum.”

Middle East Report Publishes Al-Tikriti Interview on EU Migration Policy

On June 18, 2018, the Middle East Report (MER) published an interview Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti completed with MSF / Doctors Without Borders colleague Aurélie Ponthieu on European Union migration policy. This interview was informed by Prof. Al-Tikriti’s May 2015 service with MSF colleagues on the Bourbon Argos, who rescued over 1,000 individuals from Mediterranean waters.

Interview Abstract: “European policies on refugees and asylum seekers are increasingly restrictive. Borders are effectively being pushed off-shore, extending the problems of border management as far south as possible. Aurélie Ponthieu explains the effects of these measures, including crowded refugee centers on the Italian and Greek borders, deplorable conditions in Libyan detention centers and fewer rescues at sea. Ponthieu, the Coordinator of the Forced Migration Team in the analysis department of Médecins sans Frontières (Doctors Without Borders), Belgium, was interviewed by Nabil Al-Tikriti.”

MER Issue #286 Link: https://www.merip.org/mer/mer286.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Lectures at Virginia Tech – SPIA

On 19 April, Associate Professor of History Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke at Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs (SPIA), in Alexandria, VA.  The topic presented was the global humanitarian system and its impact in the Middle East and other zones of crisis.  Attendees included both Virginia Tech SPIA graduate students and undergraduate students associated with both Prof. Ariel Ahram‘s class on Global Security (GIA 5514), and the Washington Semester program.

Prof. Al-Tikriti has worked since 1988 in field development and humanitarian relief programs for Africare, Plan International, Catholic Relief Services (CRS), and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) / Doctors Without Borders in over a dozen countries in Africa and the Middle East. He also served on the MSF / Doctors Without Borders USA Board of Directors in 2011-17, and as Vice President in 2016-17.

Al-Tikriti Joins Middle East Studies Book Prize Committee

On Feb. 19, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti agreed to join the 2018 Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Book Prize Committee. For this service, the five committee members must review a total of approximately 125 books for three prizes:

The Albert Hourani Book Award was established in 1991 to recognize outstanding publishing in Middle East studies. The award was named for Albert Hourani to recognize his long and distinguished career as teacher and mentor. The winning book recognizes the very best in Middle East studies scholarship.

The Nikki Keddie Book Award was established in 2017 to recognize an outstanding contribution on religion, revolution, and history/society. The annual award was named for Nikki Keddie to recognize her long and distinguished career as a scholar and teacher.

The Fatima Mernissi Book Award was established in 2017 to recognize an outstanding contribution to studies of gender, sexuality, and women’s lived experience. The annual award was named for Fatima Mernissi to recognize her long and distinguished career as a scholar and as a public intellectual.

Book submissions are due April 1, and the committee will be continuing reviews throughout the summer months.  The remaining members of the 2018 MESA Book Committee include: Professor Heather Sharkey (Chair, University of Pennsylvania), Professor Laleh Khalili (School of African and Oriental Studies), Professor Yaseen Norani (University of Arizona), and Professor Nayareh Tohidi (California State University, Northridge). MESA’s Sara L. Palmer will serve as the Book Awards Coordinator.

For more information about the MESA Book Prize contests, see: http://mesana.org/awards/book-awards.html.

Al-Tikriti Joins Fulbright Liaison Scholar Workshop

On 16 February, Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti attended a Fulbright Scholar Liaison (FSL) workshop at the Institute for International Education (IIE) in Washington, DC. In the course of this workshop, IIE informed and prompted guest FSL attendees from throughout the nation on various Fulbright programs, and related initiatives to internationalize campuses.

Issues addressed in the course of this workshop included the following, which might be of interest to the UMW community:

  • Fulbright Scholar Program for eligible faculty members
  • Fulbright Scholar in Residence (SiR) Program
  • International Education Administrator (IEA) Seminars
  • Fulbright U.S. Student Program
  • Fulbright Specialist Program
  • Outreach Lecturing Fund (OLF) speakers list
  • Scholar Rescue Fund (SRF) possibilities for guest lecturers
  • Institutional membership in IIE
  • Individual membership in the Fulbright Association
  • Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program
  • Pre-Departure Orientations on applicant campuses
  • Placing foreign graduate students at U.S. TESL programs

The primary Powerpoint presentation made at the workshop can be accessed here: https://www.cies.org/document/power-point-fulbright-scholar-program-workshop

If colleagues would like to hear more about this workshop, or explore certain potential initiatives further, please do not hesitate to contact Professor Al-Tikriti.

Al-Tikriti speaks at UC San Diego and Soka University

On Dec. 1, Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti of the Department of History and American Students spoke to students at the University of California-San Diego about his experiences as a relief worker, the ideals of medical humanitarianism, and the challenges faced by medical NGOs. The next day, Al-Tikriti spoke to students and faculty about the same topics at Soka University in Los Angeles. Speaking in his own capacity, Al-Tikriti’s talks were informed by his experiences over the past 27 years working in field operations with Catholic Relief Services and MSF/Doctors Without Borders, which he additionally served as an MSF USA board member from 2011 to 2017, and as vice president in 2016-17. This board and officer service ended this past July.

Al-Tikriti speaks on Panels at Capitol Hill, Smithsonian and MESA Conference

On November 16, Middle East History Associate Professor Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke on a panel sponsored by the Council for American Overseas Research Centers (CAORC). Entitled “The Situation in Mosul,” the panel took place at the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill.  Introduced by CAORC Executive Director Rick Spees, Prof. Al-Tikriti joined Drs. Alda Benjamin, Eric Davis, and Katharyn Hanson to discuss recent developments in Northern Iraq. For his part, Al-Tikriti spoke to perceptions of a tripartite Iraq in U.S. foreign policy circles, how that perception has come to color reality on the ground, and current humanitarian realities in and around Mosul.

On November 17, following a brief and informal discussion with certain CAORC colleagues on the same topic at the State Department, Prof. Al-Tikriti  joined another panel to speak on Northern Iraq at the Ripley Auditorium of the Smithsonian Institution. Sponsored by The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII), and devoted to the memory of Prof. Peter Sluglett (d. 2017), this panel was entitled Narratives of Co-Existence and Pluralism in Northern Iraq.” In the course of this event, Dr. Katharyn Hanson of TARII provided opening remarks, Dr. Peter Wien of UMD / TARII provided speaker introductions, and both Profs. Dina Khouri (GWU) and Nelida Fuccaro (NYU Abu Dhabi) offered special remarks in honor of Peter Sluglett. During the panel, Prof. Al-Tikriti was joined by Drs. Orit Bashkin (Chicago), Alda Benjamin (U. Pennsylvania), Arbella Bet-Shimon (U. Washington), and Michael Sims (U. Washington, ABD). Topics covered during this panel included Da’esh, Yazidis, Iraqi Christians, Iraqi Jewry, and regional policy realities.

Finally, on November 18, Prof. Al-Tikriti joined a roundtable at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference in Washington, DC, entitled “Usurpation: The Untold Stories of the Iraq War, 2003 to the Present.” Organized by Dr. Afaf Nash (USC), here Prof. Al-Tikriti joined Drs. Nash, Nadje al-Ali (SOAS), Nada Shabout (U. of North Texas), Jeffrey Spurr (Independent Scholar), and Saleem al-Bahloly (Johns Hopkins) to discuss the longer term legacies of the 2003 Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

Prof. Al-Tikriti’s contribution to the roundtable was entitled “Familial and Personal Journeys With US Foreign Policy on Iraq.” In this discussion, he discussed the impact of recent developments in Iraqi history on his extended family in Mosul, Tikrit, and Baghdad. He then discussed his interactions with U.S. foreign policy in Iraq since 1990, and how such interactions affected his career and politics. He closed by discussing his prior research on the effects of the 2003 invasion of Iraq on state institutions, cultural patronage, and education.

For full roundtable presentation abstracts, see: https://mesana.org/mymesa/meeting_program_session.php?sid=3dc087f387ac8cc9778d8db808166ad3.