October 30, 2020

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.

Al-Tikriti Discusses Potential Azerbaijan Exchange Program and Collaborations

Prof. Al-Tikriti in Baku

On Wednesday, 18 December, Middle East History Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti discussed potential future student exchanges and program collaborations between the University of Mary Washington and ADA University of Baku, Azerbaijan. Prof. Al-Tikriti thanks Dr. Jose Sainz, Fariz Ismailzade, Gulnur Ismayil, and Milana Ibrahimova for assisting with this initiative.

Al-Tikriti Presents Keynote Address at History Workshop in Turkey

Conference Card

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a keynote address entitled “Şehzade Korkut ve 16. Yüzyıl Osmanlısında Dini Kimlik Mücadeleleri / Şehzade Korkud and the 16th Century Struggles for Religious Identity” on Friday, December 13. Presenting this 40 minute address entirely in Turkish, Prof. Al-Tikriti summarized the biography and contributions of Prince Korkud (d. 1513), the son of Ottoman Sultan Bayezid II (d. 1512) for the “Uluslararası Katılımlı Şehzade Korkut Sempozyomu / International Attendee Şehzade Korkud Symposium.” The symposium, the first of its kind, was hosted by the Akdeniz Üniversitesi Ilahiyat Fakültesi / Mediterranean University Divinity School, of Antalya, Turkey. This was an invited appearance.

The symposium website includes further information, and photos.

Prof. Al-Tikriti would especially like to thank Professors Rifat Atay and Muhammet Fatih Duman, who organized the symposium and extended the invitation.

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti

Nabil Al-Tikriti Joins MESA Roundtable Discussion on TARII

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti joined a roundtable entitled “Iraqi Studies across Disciplines: The Future for an Iraqi Research Center,” at the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) Conference on Friday, November 15, in New Orleans, LA.

The roundtable abstract was: “Due to the ongoing legacies of sanctions, authoritarianism, violence, and foreign interventions we have now suffered over 20 years of disconnect between international scholars, who do research in Iraq studies, and their ability to conduct that research inside of Iraq. Following on The Academic Research Institute in Iraq (TARII)’s recently established Center for Research in Baghdad we propose a roundtable to review the state of Iraq Studies in all disciplines and how our research center in Baghdad can contribute to the future of the field. TARII is a registered non-profit devoted to promoting scholarly research on and in Iraq and to strengthen relationships between Iraqi and American scholars and institutions. At this time in particular, Iraq’s important role on the world stage necessitates facilitating research on Iraq with a full and accurate context that can be best accessed inside Iraq. With this panel we hope to provide the opportunity for a robust discussion covering Iraqi history, contemporary politics, cultural heritage, and cultural production across disciplines today.”

Prof. Al-Tikriti originally intended to provide a summary of today’s scholarly literature addressing Iraq during the Ottoman era, he instead provided a set of ideas concerning the future of Iraqi studies with a newly re-opened TARII center in Baghdad, Iraq, based on his experiences with other regional research institutes.

Other participants in the roundtable included Drs. Alda Benjamin, Antoine Borrut, and Katharyn Hanson, who organized the event on behalf of TARII.

Al-Tikriti Presents Azerbaijan Paper at Central Eurasian Studies Society Conference

History of Baku's Manuscript Collection

History of Baku’s Manuscript Collection

Associate Professor of Middle East History Nabil Al-Tikriti presented a paper entitled “Some Notes on Manuscript Collections in Azerbaijan on Saturday, October 12. The presentation took place on a panel entitled Sources and Methodological Questions” in Washington, D.C., at the Central Eurasian Studies Society (CESS) Conference.

The paper abstract was: “This past year, while serving a Fulbright grant based at Baku State University (BSU), I was fortunate to explore Azerbaijan’s known manuscript collections. In the course of such explorations, I learned what I could about the history of such collections, their current state of preservation, and their place in regional book culture.

In this paper, I first provide a brief historical summary of Azerbaijan’s manuscript holdings, and an overview of what I understand to be the state of the country’s manuscript collections currently. As is widely known, manuscript collections in Azerbaijan suffered great disruption in the wake of the 19th century Russian imperial conquest, the Great War, and 1930s Soviet anti-religion campaigns. In light of these developments, I provide my views on the region’s early modern and modern manuscript history.

Following this overview, I concentrate on describing the history and current state of the ‘AMEA M. Fuzuli adina El Yazmalar Institutu,’ or ‘Azerbaijan National Academy of Sciences Manuscript Institute named after M. Fuzuli.’ For this portion, I describe the institute’s manuscript holdings, the importance of the most prominent texts, and the practicalities of conducting research at this institution. I also make general observations on the periods which this collection primarily covers, and the broader significance of this collection for national and regional historical research.”

This panel was chaired by Dr. Eren Tasar (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill). In the same panel, Dr. Khodadad Rezakhani (Princeton University) presented a paper entitled ‘Diplomats on the Steppe: Ibn Fadlan, the Samanids, and the Rise of the Steppe Road’ and Dr. Sherzodhon Mahmudov (Institute of History of the Academy of Sciences of Uzbekistan) presented a paper entitled ‘Russian factors in Khoqand-Istanbul correspondences: analysis of letters of Khoqand rulers kept in Ottoman archives.'”



Al-Tikriti Publishes Article Describing Istanbul Special Election

The Middle East Report Online (MERO) published an article by Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti, entitled “Autopsy of Erdoǧan’s Istanbul Defeat.” In the course of this article, Professor Al-Tikriti analyzed the political and economic dynamics driving the results of the June 23, 2019 Istanbul special elections, which proved a landslide defeat for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

Certainties that had defined Turkish politics for a generation were thrown into doubt by the overwhelming victory Istanbul voters handed the opposition CHP party’s mayoral candidate Ekrem İmamoǧlu on June 23, 2019,” Al-Tikriti said. “Voters responded with righteous and smoldering fury to the ruling AKP party’s blatant tampering with the democratic process after it had annulled İmamoǧlu’s previous, and much closer, victory over the AKP’s candidate Binali Yıldırım on March 31, forcing a new election for mayor of the Greater Istanbul Municipality. While not the first electoral setback Turkish President and AKP party leader Recep Tayyip Erdoǧan has faced, it was the first time his own actions boomeranged so pointedly against his own agenda…”

For the full article see: https://merip.org/2019/09/autopsy-of-erdo%C7 %A7ans-istanbul-defeat/

Al-Tikriti Completes Fulbright Year in Baku

Professor Al-Tikriti in Baku

This summer Professor Nabil Al-Tikriti completed an academic year as a Fulbright Scholar in Baku, Azerbaijan, affiliated with Baku State University. In the course of this past year he conducted historical research in four manuscript collections and libraries; completed an American Studies curriculum reform proposal and led a workshop on teaching undergraduate research methods at Baku State University; presented UMW to six audiences (four American Centers, one high school, and a U.S. Study Abroad office); offered two guest lectures on Ottoman History at ADA University; organized a guest lecture at Baku State University; observed elections in Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Ukraine; and prepared proposals for an international conference and student exchange program.

For all their generous hospitality and gracious hosting, Dr. Al-Tikriti extends his deepest gratitude to his points of contact at Baku State University, the U.S. Embassy in Baku, and ADA University. He hopes to maintain communications and collaboration with his Azerbaijani colleagues well into the future.

Al-Tikriti Monitors Parliamentary Elections in Ukraine

Prof. Al-Tikriti (2nd from right) at a Ukrainian polling station.

Prof. Al-Tikriti (2nd from right) at a Ukrainian polling station.

Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti served as an election monitor for the Ukraine parliamentary elections on 16-24 July. Joining 90 Americans in the U.S. delegation of some 750+ observers total, Al-Tikriti worked as an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) STO (Short Term Observer) in 11-12 rural villages in the agricultural region around Berdyansk, in Eastern Ukraine. His observation partner was a French government official, based in Paris. For more information on these Ukrainian elections, and OSCE’s support of these elections, please see:

In the course of his visit, Al-Tikriti spent four days in Berdyansk, an industrial port on the Sea of Azov, and five days in the capital Kiev, where observers carried out preliminary briefings. While there, he found time to visit the Chernobyl Museum, the National History Museum, and several World War II monuments in the rural villages around Berdyansk.

Originally scheduled to be held at the end of October 2019, the 2019 Ukrainian parliamentary elections were brought forward after newly inaugurated President Volodymyr Zelensky dissolved parliament early on 21 May 2019 (a day after his inauguration). In the event, the “Servant of the People” party won the most seats, enabling the formation of a new government. For more information on the politics behind this elections, see this article.

This is the 15th OSCE-monitored election Al-Tikriti has observed since 1997, and the 3rd within the past year.