Middle East Studies

Teach-In on Northern Syria – Understanding the Kurdish Struggle and Turkey’s Invasion

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

True North Room (101), 280 Brook St., Watson Institute

The Teach-In will address the struggles of Kurdish communities in light of Turkey's recent military invasion of northern Syria. It will provide both a historical and contemporary context to the ongoing conflict between Turkey and the Kurdish political movement, and will shed light on the implications of Trump's decision to withdraw US troops from Syria. Speakers come from a range of different backgrounds and perspectives, including Kurdish political leaders and community activists as well as academics working on the Middle East.

Nazan Bedirhanoglu, Wellesley College on "Kurdish Struggle and Turkey's Incursions in Rojava"
Nusret Oner, New England Kurdish Association on "New England Kurdish Community and the Current Trauma"
Giran Ozcan, HDP representative to the US
Stephen Kinzer, Brown University on "Kurds and Middle East Geopolitics"
Nadje Al-Ali, Brown University on "Beyond Fighting ISIS: Understanding Kurdish Women's Struggle"

Kurdish Project

Nazan Bedirhanoglu is a postdoctoral fellow in political science at Wellesley College where she teaches courses on the Middle East and political economy. She was expelled from Ankara University in 2017 for signing the Peace Petition protesting government atrocities against Kurdish civilians. She is currently conducting a research project on the Kurdish diaspora in the United States. She was an affiliated scholar with Middle East Studies at Brown University between 2017-2019.

Nusret Oner is a Kurdish community activist based in Providence. He is head of  the New England Kurdish Association (NEKA), a non-profit cultural organization that was established in 2004 to share knowledge and friendship between people in the US and Kurds from Turkey, Iran, Iraq and Syria.

Giran Ozcan is the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) Representative in the United States. After graduating from the University of Warwick with a sociology degree, he worked at the Centre for Turkey Studies in London between 2011 and 2016. He has been working with the HDP in its overseas representative offices since 2016.

Stephen Kinzer spent more than 20 years working for the New York Times, most of it as a foreign correspondent.  He was the first Times bureau chief in Istanbul and has written widely about Turkey, Iran, and other countries in the region.  He is a senior fellow at the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs and writes a world affairs column for the Boston Globe.

Nadje Al-Ali is the Robert Family Professor of International Studies and professor of anthropology and Middle East studies. Her main research interests and publications revolve around feminist activism in the Middle East; transnational migration and diaspora mobilization; war, conflict and reconstruction; art and cultural studies, and food.