January 17, 2018

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.


Nabil Al-Tikriti Co-Publishes Chapter with UMW Alumna on Syrian Kurdish History

On Nov. 16, 2015, London’s Gingko Library released its first publication, a scholarly volume edited by T.G. Fraser and titled The First World War and its Aftermath: The Making of the Modern Middle East. 2014 UMW graduate Laila McQuade and Prof. Nabil Al-Tikriti co-authored the 15th chapter of this volume, titled “The Limits of Soft Power: Why Kurdish Nationalism Failed in the French Mandate of Syria.” This chapter was based on an independent study that McQuade completed under the supervision of Prof. Al-Tikriti in the spring of 2014. Ms. McQuade collected the chapter’s primary sources in the course of a research visit she conducted to the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs archives in Nante, France, supported by the Office of the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.

The abstract for the chapter is as follows: “By 1936, the borders of Syria were set by the Franco-Syrian Treaty. Under the treaty, mandatory Syria remained unified, with the exception of Lebanon, and with no provision for Kurdish autonomy. While some have argued that this resulted from the lack of a viable Kurdish independence movement or unity among the Kurds, the Kurds in Syria appear to have had a structured and cohesive nationalist movement. Rather, Kurdish nationalists failed to achieve their primary goal due to their friendly relations with the French and the consequences of that relationship in light of France’s shifting priorities in the 1920s and 1930s. As their relationship with France was based on a marriage of interests rather than affinity or ideals, when their interests were no longer aligned, the Kurdish nationalists were ill-equipped to promote their goals through the soft power they had accrued, and lacked the hard power they desperately needed to forcibly achieve them.”

Access to this chapter is available on this link: https://www.academia.edu/20024351/The_Limits_of_Soft_Power_Why_Kurdish_Nationalism_Failed_in_the_French_Mandate_of_Syria 

Al-Tikriti Discusses MSF Experiences at D.C. Events

Over a four week period, Associate Professor of Middle Eastern History Nabil Al-Tikriti discussed roles and policies of MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA in three separate D.C. area events. On the evenings of Oct. 14 and 21, he joined Athena Viscusi to discuss his field experience at the El Tamarindo restaurant in Adams Morgan.

On both nights, after Ms. Viscusi discussed her role volunteering for MSF during last year’s Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Prof. Al-Tikriti described his role this past May and June serving as a cultural mediator on the SS Bourbon Argos, which engaged in rescuing refugees and migrants in the Mediterranean Sea off the Libyan coast.

For those interested, there will be an additional event led by other MSF field volunteers at the same restaurant on Nov. 23. Here is a link to the second event’s announcement: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/face-to-face-in-dc-2nd-night-registration-18928590925?aff=ebrowse.

On Nov. 5, Prof. Al-Tikriti offered a guest lecture at Virginia Tech’s School of Public and International Affairs, in Alexandria, Va. In the course of this lecture, Al-Tikriti discussed MSF’s values, philosophy, and policies, particularly in the area of military-NGO cooperation.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Monitors Belarus Presidential Election

From Oct. 6-13, Dr. Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of Middle Eastern history, served as an election monitor for the Belarus presidential election. Joining more than 30 other Americans in the U.S. delegation, Al-Tikriti worked as an OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) and STO (Short Term Observer) in the capital city, Minsk. His observation partner was a Czech national and former U.N.D.P. staff member; the team’s interpreter was a college professor of English; and the team’s driver was a cardiac surgeon. For more information on these Belarus elections, and OSCE’s support of these elections, please see:  http://www.osce.org/odihr/elections/belarus/174776.

In the course of his visit, Al-Tikriti also observed a Belarus primary school musical performance, toured the national museum, and visited several monuments, including the Lenin statue pictured here.

Al-Tikriti Co-Publishes 16th Century Diplomatic Correspondence

Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti published conference proceedings entitled The 1502-1504 Correspondence between Şehzade Korkud and the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem” in the Italian peer-reviewed journal, “Mediterranea – ricerche storiche.”

The journal is supported by the International Association of Maritime Studies (IAMS) and Piri Reis University and published conference proceedings this past summer from the Second International Congress of Eurasian Maritime Studies, which Al-Tikriti participated in at Venice in 2013. Al-Tikriti‘s contribution appears in the third part of the volume, which can be accessed here:


The article abstract is as follows: “When the 1499-1502 Ottoman-Venetian war ended, Bayezid II’s son, Şehzade Korkud, was granted the task of managing relations with the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem. Between 1502 and 1504, the two parties exchanged many missives. Their English translations are published here, together with the translations of other documents written by the Knights about their negotiations with Korkud.”

The entire journal volume can be accessed here: http://www.storiamediterranea.it/portfolio/agosto-2015/.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Facilitates Debates on International Humanitarian Law, Forced Migration

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

For five weeks in May and June, Al-Tikriti served as a cultural facilitator/mediator on MSF’s “Bourbon Argos” ship off the Libyan coast. In the course of this period, the ship rescued well over 1,000 individuals from more than 20 countries.

While in the Mediterranean, Al-Tikriti co-authored an article with Ahmad Al Roussan addressing Turkey’s role in today’s migration movements. Entitled “Syrian and Iraqi conflicts move Turkey to the heart of Europe’s refugee crisis,” the article was carried in both the May 2015 print and digital editions of the Turkish Review, and can be accessed here: http://www.turkishreview.org/opinions/syrian-and-iraqi-conflicts-move-turkey-to-the-heart-of-europe-s-refugee-crisis_551188.

Upon return to the U.S., Al-Tikriti moderated a panel on International Humanitarian Law at the 2015 MSF USA General Assembly. Panelists included MSF’s own Francoise Saulnier and Jordan Davidoff, as well as Action Against Hunger’s Chris Lockyear and ICRC’s Philip Spoerri.

Iraqi PM Visits US, As Battle with ISIS Continues (Up Rising Radio.org)

Al-Tikriti Discusses Recent Iraqi Developments, Military-NGO Relations

Associate Professor of History and American Studies Nabil Al-Tikriti appeared on Los Angeles-based KPFK’s “Radio Uprising” program on Wednesday, April 15, to discuss the latest developments in Iraq and the region. Al-Tikriti has now appeared on this program, hosted by Sonali Kolhatkar, at least three times in the past two years.

The segment lasted just over five minutes, and can be screened via this podcast link. (Direct video link here.) In the course of this discussion, Al-Tikriti compared the current Iraqi Prime Minister to the previous officeholder, and commented on the state of the Iraqi military, as well as American media coverage of Iraq in general.

On Monday, April, 20, in his capacity as a member of the Board of Directors for MSF/Doctors Without Borders USA, Al-Tikriti represented MSF on a joint panel addressing military-humanitarian cooperation. The panel was part of the Marine Corps University’s “Nine Innings” exercise on humanitarian assistance and disaster relief at Quantico, Virginia. In the course of this panel, Al-Tikriti joined representatives from ICRC, IMC, OCHA and Islamic Relief to provide institutional perspectives on these and related concerns.

Al-Tikriti Presents Paper on Ottoman Scholar Kâtip Çelebi

Nabil Al-Tikriti, associate professor of history and American studies,  delivered a paper, “An Ottoman View of World History: Kâtip Çelebi’s Takvîmü’t-Tevârîh,” to the 1st International Kâtip Çelebi Research Symposium on  Friday, March 28. This symposium was organized by Izmir Kâtip Çelebi University (established 2010) in Izmir, Turkey. This was an invited presentation.

Nabil Al-Tikriti Explains Takvîmü't-Tevârîh TextIn this paper,  Al-Tikriti provided historical context and analysis of Kâtip Çelebi’s Takvîmü’t-Tevârîh, a chronology, summary, and attempted reconciliation of ancient and Islamic history completed in 1649 C.E. Kâtip Çelebi (d. 1657), the namesake for this recently established Turkish state university off the Aegean coast, was a prominent 17th century Ottoman scholar who is widely considered the foremost representative of “secular” scholarship in his era. In addition to this work, Kâtip Çelebi is renowned for completing the most detailed encyclopedic catalogue of Islamicate manuscripts prior to the 20th century, the most advanced Ottoman world geography text of its time, and roughly 20 other historical, geographical, and political texts.

The work Al-Tikriti presented, Takvîmü’t-Tevârîh, was a very popular text, with at least five translations (Latin, Italian, French, Arabic, Persian), 45 known manuscript copies, and three continuations. In 1733 the first Ottoman publisher, the Müteferrika press, published over 250 copies of this text for sale throughout the empire. 

With this text, Kâtip Çelebi appears to have set out to reconcile all known calendars of the ancient world, offering a chart of five prominent calendar systems and comparing their respective dating systems. He also chronicled what he considered the most important events of the pre-Islamic world, and provided an annual calendar of events in the post-Islamic world up to his own day. After providing charts of Ottoman sultans, grand viziers, judges, prominent elites, and other figures, Kâtip Çelebi closed with his own theory of history and dynastic continuity, which bears some resemblance to the theories of the prominent pre-modern historian and sociologist, Ibn Khaldun (d. 1406).