Speaking on the Middle East: Syracuse professor to tackle issues

David Tal, the Schusterman visiting professor of international relations at Syracuse University, will discuss how “it is a crucial moment in the history of the Middle East” on Wednesday (Dec. 5).

The 4th Annual Joan Coffey Symposium lecture, “Israel in the Middle East – an Historian Point of View,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Academic Building IV’s Olson Auditorium.

Tal will address Israel’s place in the Middle East, “the world’s most volatile area;” Israel’s notion of peace, and past issues in Arab-Israeli relations, as well as present issues and future concerns, according to David Mayes, SHSU assistant professor of history.

“Those things have taken a turn for the very interesting over the past couple weeks because the two sides- the Palestinians and the Israelis – have outspokenly agreed to map out a Palestinian state,” Mayes said. “If things go forward as planned, a Palestinian state will be in place in about two years.”

These meetings, including significant leaders from other Arab countries throughout the Middle East, are unusual because they are countries that don’t normally talk to the Israelis, Mayes said.

“Everyone was united, saying peace, two states, and Palestinian and Israeli states living side by side,” he said.

The Joan Coffey Symposium was established in honor of Coffey, a faculty member of the history department for about 12 years until her death in 2003 after a long battle with cancer.

The first three symposiums covered the topics of the death penalty, Islam in Southeast Asia, and the Houston Riot of 1917.

“Ideally, the symposium is designed to draw attention to issues and subjects pertaining not only to the U.S. but also to the wider world so that SHSU students and faculty and the broader Huntsville community are attuned to them and informed about them,” Mayes said.

For more information, call the history department at 936.294.1475.

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