Global Education

Learning about the Middle East in the Midwest.

Events in the Middle East dominate the international news cycle, and the complexity of the issues make it a region that is difficult to understand. Thanks to a workshop held recently at Kansas State University, students, faculty, military personnel from Fort Riley and community members all had the opportunity to better their understanding of this multifaceted region.

Dr. Sabri Ciftci, associate professor in the Department of Political Science in the College of Arts and Sciences planned the workshop entitled After the uprisings: Public opinion, gender and conflict in the Middle East. Ciftci holds the Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies at Kansas State University, and he used funds from the Suleiman chair endowment to bring together notable experts to share their research papers at the event. The all-day workshop looked at gender and politics in the Middle East, the neighbors of Syria and how they are impacted by the conflict there, and violence, democracy and public opinion in the Middle East and North Africa.

It was because of philanthropic giving to K-State that this impressive workshop was able to be held. Philanthropic funds were used by K-State’s Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences, Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, Office of International Programs and the K-State Office for the Advancement of Women in Science and Engineering (KAWSE) to help sponsor this event.

Dr. Michael Suleiman, the chair’s namesake, was a K-State faculty member for more than 40 years. It was through his work that K-State developed a widespread reputation for excellence in the study of Arab, Arab-American and Middle Eastern issues. To honor Suleiman and to foster understanding and collaboration between K-State and the Middle East region, John Hofmeister, a K-State alumnus and retired president of the Shell Oil Company, made the lead gift in creating the Michael W. Suleiman Chair in Arab and Arab-American Studies.

“Michael W. Suleiman was a pioneer in Arab studies and I am truly honored to hold the chair named for him,” Ciftci said. “Building on his legacy, I believe we can advance the study of the Middle East in the Department of Political Science and at Kansas State University. Activities associated with the Michael W. Suleiman chair, such as this workshop, will help to build an intellectually vibrant community on campus and they fit well with K-State’s vision to be among the top 50 public research universities by 2025.”

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Frank Cummings

Frank Cummings Director of Development - Arts and Sciences


Janis Asaris

Janis Asaris Student Gift Officer