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Panel Sheds Light on Egyptian Conflict

Emeritus professor of history Arthur Goldschmidt

As the Egyptian protests have headlined major news sources all around the world for over a week, the Rock Ethics Institute decided it was time to relocate this issue to State College by hosting a public forum on the events unfolding in the Middle East.

A large number of attendants made their way to Chambers last night to ask the  panel their unanswered questions on the recent Egyptian episodes.

Jonathan Brockopp, Associate Professor of Religious Studies and History organized the event and stressed the significance of providing this meeting for the students.

“It’s important to have a sense of history,” he said, “I want the students to grasp how important these events are.”

He explained that for Arabs, this is a big occurrence, but it is hard to understand the magnitude of this event living in Pennsylvania.

The discussion’s panel included: Brockopp; Arthur Goldschmidt, Emeritus Professor of History; Veena Raman: Lecturer in Communication Arts and Sciences, and Science, Technology, and Society;  and Zaid Balushi, President of the Penn State Muslim Students’ Association. The panel also included Christian Brady, Dean of Schreyer Honors College, who assumed the role of moderator.

Brockopp began the seminar with a PowerPoint presentation (which you can download at the end of the post) that gave a brief overview of the events that led up to the Egyptian conflict. Each member of the panel then introduced him-or-herself, and opened the floor to questions from the audience.

Panel members provided insight to a wide variety of topics, covering issues from whether democracy in the Middle East would be best for U.S. foreign policy, to why Egyptian President Honsi Mubarak maintained power for 30 years despite the public’s dislike of him, to the effects that this revolutionary movement may have on other countries like the Middle Eastern gulf nations and China. When asked if the Egyptian movement could go wrong, Brockopp responded, “Lots could go wrong.” However, Brockopp has hope, viewing the recent events as a “connecting thread,” for the nation’s people.

Sherif Sovhi, an Egyptian student here at Penn State, was glad to see attention drawn to the turmoil in his country. “I’m worried about my friends and family at home,” he said.

The forum’s turnout and continuous audience participation pleased Brady. “There’s an urgency to this. It’s all over the news. I think this drew out so many people because they see it in the news and realize that they really don’t know too much about Egypt,” he said.

With the success of this first panel discussion, Brady is hopeful that more of its’ kind will occur. He encourages other students to email him in order to push for the creation of panel discussions on other issues at hand, like the Egyptian conflict. You can email him at [email protected].

Download the PowerPoint.

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About the Author

Ryan Kristobak

Hailing from Lebanon, PA, I am a senior majoring in print journalism. Things I enjoy include lovesacs, denim, mullets, Fight Milk, Jonny Moseley, and "hang in there" kitten posters. Things that bother me include "fun" sized candy bars (not fun), fish, shoobies, wet door knobs, baby leashes, and Jake Lloyd.

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