August 3, 2021

Al-Tikriti Serves as Discussant for Global Teach Connections Summit 2021

On 13-14 July 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Discussant for Drexel University’s Global Teach Connections Summit 2021. This conference was also supported by the University of Pennsylvania’s Middle East Center.

In the course of this conference, Prof. Al-Tikriti led discussion during the last session of the first day’s proceedings, covering Global Education issues. This participation followed his 2020 presentation to the same forum, covering his 2018-19 Fulbright year in Azerbaijan.

Here is the thank you note from the organizer, Dr. Joyce Pittman: “I want to thank you for an outstanding participation during the  recent Global Teach Connection Summit 2021. When planning an event such as this, it is imperative to gain the participation of experts in the field and in our Schools of Education globally to reach our global teachers. Your interest and willingness to share your time by listening to our experiences and sharing expertise in the GTC project especially summit on global teaching competencies to advance education equity was critical to the success of this event. The feedback from participants is most complimentary about our approach to engaging and making a difference in global education outreach and ability to connect GTC to the greater work that is happening worldwide…We were fortunate to have a wide range of participants and speakers from an international arena – K-12 education, non-profits, business, state agencies, higher education, and others. It is our collective efforts and thoughts on best practice that will bring us closer to resolving this important issue...The summit was not meant to be a single event, but a starting point for the work that must be done, especially in the School of Education to mitigate this problem once and for all for teachers and learners. Please be sure to visit the Global Teach Connect Website for videos and to connect with local University of Penn partners for future collaboration. Please visit al the resources in toolkit that was shared with you before and during the conference and use the project template to submit your ideas for future professional development, training or research!”

Day 1 Recording: https://1513041.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/GTC+Summit+Day+1/1_ocgb6a24

Day 2 Recording: https://1513041.mediaspace.kaltura.com/media/GTCDay2/1_89lgv2kl

Al-Tikriti Monitors Armenia Parliamentary Elections

Prof. Al-Tikriti at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia.

Prof. Al-Tikriti at Khor Virap Monastery in Armenia.

From 15-24 June 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Short Term Observer (STO) for the Organization of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Ararat Province, Armenia.

In the course of this single week deployment, Prof. Al-Tikriti observed the election process for the 20 June 2021 Armenian parliamentary elections. In the course of this observation, he and his STO team visited eight polling stations in and around Ararat City, Armenia. In addition, he was able to visit the Khor Virap Monastery, Garni Temple, Geghard Monastery, Lake Sevan, and Matenadaran Library.

Together with his Polish STO partner, Ms. Halszhka Lachowicz, Prof. Al-Tikriti completed multiple visit reports, monitored the evening count, and carried out other observation requirements as mandated by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Ms. Lachowicz and Prof. Al-Tikriti’s work contributed to ODIHR’s reporting.

Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks the colleagues who served with him in Ararat, as well as all the wonderful Armenian officials, activists, and election colleagues whom he was fortunate enough to meet in the course of this election observation.

Ottoman Religious History Volume Publishes Al-Tikriti Chapter

In the fall of 2020, a volume edited by Tijana Krstić and Derin Terzioğlu entitled Historicizing Sunni Islam in the Ottoman Empire, c. 1450 – c. 1750, included a chapter by UMW Middle East History Associate Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti. The chapter, entitled “A Contrarian Voice: Şehzāde Ḳorḳud’s (d. 919/1513) Writings on Kalām and the Early Articulation of Ottoman Sunnism,” provides an examination of the role Prince Korkud’s writings played in the early modern evolution of Ottoman religious identity.

The chapter abstract: “What characterizes Ottoman Sunnism, and how did it come to be? The conventional view is that by roughly the middle of the sixteenth century the imperial elite came to adopt and promote a particular religious identity, which can be characterized by several overlapping, interrelated, and historically defined denominational (madhhab) affiliations, as well as a particular relationship with the political hierarchy. The favored denominations included Hanafi legal affiliation and Maturidi kalām orientation, accompanied by elite support for particular aspects of mystical thought and practice, a cooperative relationship between favored Sufi orders and the state, and advanced integration of the ulama into a state-supported madrasa system.”

“One figure whose writings reflect this coming together of Ottoman Sunnism at a nascent stage is Şehzāde Ḳorḳud (d. 919/1513), who argued a series of positions on matters of religious belief, doctrinal certainty, favored groups, and the relationship between the state and ulama. Largely because he failed to win power in the 917–919 / 1511–1513 dynastic succession struggle, the prince’s arguments left a limited mark, and several of his positions reflected a minority viewpoint. However, at the same time, his positions highlight several relevant intellectual influences at that time and place, point to factors contributing to the form Ottoman Sunnism came to take, and demonstrate the range of debate inherent in elite circles at the time.

Al-Tikriti Co-Develops & Co-Edits Middle East Report (MERIP) Issue: “Health and the Body Politic”

In December 2020, Middle East Report [MERIP] Issue #297, “Health and the Body Politic,” was officially published. UMW Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined the team of developers and editors who invited contributors and edited content for the issue, available online here: https://merip.org/magazine/297/.

The Issue Development Team (IDT) consisted of Profs. Omar Dewachi of Rutgers, Nabil Al-Tikriti, Kevan Harris of  UCLA, and Assistant Dean Graham Cornwell of George Washington University. Michelle Woodward is MERIP’s Managing Editor.

Press Release: “Health and health care have become increasingly ungoverned over the past few decades, in tandem with a broader breakdown of the body politic. Health care workers are finding it increasingly difficult to work in settings of violent conflict and insecurity, rapidly declining health care systems, pervasive corruption and widespread economic mismanagement—all amidst the waning capacity of states to improve the health and wellbeing of their populace. While the Middle East region trains a lot of doctors, few end up staying. The winter issue of Middle East Report explores the interactions of the body politic with health and medicine and examines the entanglements of physical bodies in the institutional and political processes that govern them. The articles in this issue explore a range of different landscapes and ecologies of politics and health care, bringing the questions and problems of health and illness into the analysis of geopolitics and political economy.”

In addition to participating on the IDT, Al-Tikriti also joined Omar Dewachi in an interview of Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah, a prominent activist and doctor who has worked for over 25 years in conflict medicine throughout the Middle East and Europe, much of it with MSF/Doctors without Borders.

Other contributions to the issue included: Mac Skelton, “The Long Shadow of Iraq’s Cancer Epidemic and COVID-19,” Nihal Kayali, “Syrian Refugees Navigate Turkey’s Shifting Health Care Terrain,” Jennifer Derr, “Hepatitis C, COVID-19 and the Egyptian Regime’s Approach to Health Care,” Osama Tanous, “The Dilemmas of Practicing Humanitarian Medicine in Gaza,” Nora Chalati, “Illness as Metaphor and Reality in Syria,” and Aula Abbara, “COVID-19 Exposes Weaknesses in Syria’s Fragmented and War-Torn Health System.”

Middle East Report is published by the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), a progressive, independent organization. Since 1971 MERIP has provided critical analysis of the Middle East, focusing on political economy, popular struggles and the implications of U.S. foreign policy for the region.

Al-Tikriti Pens Editorial on Süleyman the Magnificent for ‘Great Lives’ Lecture

Süleyman the Magnificent

Süleyman the Magnificent

Professor of History and Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti penned an editorial on Ottoman Empire Sultan Süleyman the Magnificent in advance of his Great Lives lecture on Tuesday Jan. 26, at 7:30 pm on Zoom, as part of UMW’s “Great Lives” series. It can be accessed at umw.edu/greatlives.

IN 2011, Turkish television launched a new series, entitled “Magnificent Century / Mühteşim Yüzyıl.” An instant hit, this flashy soap opera offered a highly dramatized version of Sultan Süleyman’s palace personna, family drama, and harem dynamics.

Over four seasons this bodice ripper, centered largely on the rivalry between his wife, Hürrem, and his earlier prime concubine, Mahidevran, was screened by over 200 million viewers in over 50 countries.

Why were so many hooked on a fanciful dramatization of this celebrated sultan who died over 450 years ago?

The real Süleyman (d. 1566) ruled over the Ottoman Empire during what most consider the peak of its power. Even though the empire continued to expand for several decades after his death, and remained the most powerful force in Europe for well over another century, when denizens of Western civilization consider this empire at all, it is usually in the same breath as they contemplate the reign of its most famous ruler. Read more.

Al-Tikriti Monitors Kazakhstan Parliamentary Elections

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

Prof. Al-Tikriti and Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu

From 11 December 2020 to 16 January 2021, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti served as a Long Term Observer (LTO) for the Organization of Security & Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Shymkent, Kazakhstan.

In the course of this five week deployment, Prof. Al-Tikriti interviewed local leaders of all five recognized Kazakh parties; met with civil society activists; discussed election administration with government officials at the rayon (district), oblast (province), and city levels; and administered fuel and financial logistics for his five person team. In addition, he was able to visit the Otyrar ruins (the first city destroyed by Çingiz Khan’s Mongol army in their westward drive), the Ahmed Yesevi shrine,and the Ahmet Yesevi Turkish-Kazakh International University (TÜRTEP) in Turkistan city.

Together with his senior LTO partner, Mr. Emil Shakir Uluu of Issyk Kul, Kyrgyzstan, Prof. Al-Tikriti completed several weekly reports, election observation forms, spot rally reports, and other observation requirements mandated by the OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR). Mr. Shakir Uluu and Prof. Al-Tikriti’s work contributed to ODIHR’s interim report, and final report, which will be released in a few weeks.

Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks the colleagues who served with him in Shymkent, as well as all the wonderful Kazakh officials, activists, and election colleagues whom he was fortunate enough to meet in the course of this election observation.

Al-Tikriti Speaks on Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire

Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti recently spoke at a virtual conference hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan.

Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti recently spoke at a virtual conference hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan.

On 18 December 2020, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti spoke at a conference entitled “XII-XV əsrlər Ön Asiya və Qafqaz bölgəsinin tarixi-etnoqrafik məsələlərinə baxış / Perspectives on Historical and Ethnographic Issues Concerning 12th-15th Century Western Asia and the Caucasus Region.” The international conference, offering presentations in Azerbaijani Turkish and English, was hosted by Western Caspian University of Baku, Azerbaijan, and took place entirely online.

The title of Al-Tikriti’s presentation was “Observations on the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict’s 10 November Resolution.” Addressing a mostly Azerbaijani audience, in the course of this talk, Prof. Al-Tikriti offered the following points about the recent conflict’s current ceasefire and steps for longer term resolution:

1) He has never seen as bitter a conflict as this one, and he has witnessed several well-known conflicts.

2) The mass hatred all around must be brought to an end, sooner rather than later.

3) The huge difference between what is said for international consumption and what is said for domestic consumption needs to be reduced.

4) Both sides are living in parallel realities, and the discrepancy between those parallel worlds must be reduced.

5) The weaponization of historical memory must be put to an end, and both sides must stop pretending like the other side doesn’t exist.

6) Azerbaijan should now act generously, because if they repeat Armenia’s earlier mistake of being content with triumphantly maintaining a frozen conflict, it will come back to haunt them some day, due to shifting factors domestically and internationally.

7) Both sides may have now opened themselves up to increased Russian-Turkish neo-imperialism — if they desire genuine independence, they must negotiate directly with each other.

8) War crimes are unacceptable, and must be prosecuted — otherwise, no good will is foreseen.

9) The 2006 Julfa destruction was unacceptable, and should be both punished and restored to the extent possible.

10) As a sign of good will, Azerbaijan should open up rail lines, transport links, etc.

11) Azerbaijan should negotiate granting Nagorno-Karabakh autonomy.

12) Both sides should secure external peacekeepers (i.e. not Russian or Turkish) to guarantee both the Lachin and Zangezur corridors.

Prof. Al-Tikriti’s thanks the organizers for this opportunity to present his reflections on the recent conflict, and hopes that a just peace will soon prove viable in the South Caucasus.

Al-Tikriti Presents “Engaging with Higher Education in Azerbaijan”

On Tuesday, May 12, 2020, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a talk entitled “Engaging with Higher Education in Azerbaijan,” invited and hosted by Drexel University’s Global Education Curriculum. This talk was shaped by Prof. Al-Tikriti’s experiences as a Fulbright Scholar in Baku, Azerbaijan in academic year 2018-2019. In this presentation, he addressed points concerning American preconceptions of post-Soviet societies, Caucasus politics, and challenges of Higher Education in Azerbaijan. He wishes to thank Drexel University Professors Joyce Pittman and Kristy Kelly.

The event abstract read as follows: “In this talk, Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti will describe his year serving as a Fulbright Scholar in Baku, Azerbaijan. In the course of that year, he compared his experiences teaching research methodology to undergraduates with Azerbaijani colleagues, conducted historical research in manuscript collections and university libraries, and assisted national counterparts in designing a proposed reform of Baku State University’s American Studies curriculum. In the course of his immersion, Prof. Al-Tikriti gained numerous insights into post-Soviet legacies in Higher Education, as well as in alternative models of university instruction.”

Those wishing to screen the presentation can access it via this event series link: https://drexel.edu/soe/resources/events/event-series/gec/May-12-2020-event/.

UMW Professor’s Online Initiative Attracts Tens of Thousands

The University of Mary Washington is among countless educational institutions worldwide that have switched to virtual classes due to the coronavirus threat, or COVID-19. Suddenly, students are at home, and so are their teachers. The transition has been daunting for many professors, especially those who have never taught online.

Higher Ed Learning Collective But one UMW faculty member saw it as an opportunity.

College of Education Professor John Broome launched the Higher Ed Learning Collective (HELC), a grassroots, we’re-all-in-it-together kind of Facebook group for sharing high- and low-tech remote-teaching tools, sprinkled with a dose of self-care. He never imagined the Collective would gain traction across the globe in just a few weeks, morphing into a worldwide movement with over 24,000 members in more than 100 countries … and counting.

HELC already has introduced a website and YouTube channel, and dozens of universities, libraries and online learning sites are recommending the group, as is UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization. The Collective is creating a sense of community in a world that desperately needs one, and Broome hopes HELC will outlive the coronavirus pandemic, driving faculty to better address the diverse needs of students.

“Not everyone has access to good online or hybrid pedagogy,” said Broome, who – like so many fellow academics – was anxiously posting on social media. “We’re struggling as educators and as humans … so why not teach each other for free?” Read more.

Al-Tikriti Delivers Iraq Lecture at the Foreign Service Institute

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

On Wednesday, January 8, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti delivered a lecture entitled “US-Iraqi Relations since 1979” at the Foreign Service Institute in Arlington, VA. This lecture was delivered as part of the “Iraq Familiarization Course,” targeted at State Department professionals and contractors scheduled to serve in Iraq.