A national expert on the ongoing conflict in Syria will be the headliner for an "Arab Spring" scholarly workshop Saturday and Sunday at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
The Arab Spring refers to the wave of democratic uprisings that spread across the Arab world beginning in late 2010. Joshua Landis, who will deliver the workshop's keynote address at 7 p.m. Sunday, is an associate professor and director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma.
He holds a doctorate in Near East studies from Princeton University and makes frequent appearances as a Middle East analyst on PBS, CNN, Fox News, the BBC and NPR, among others.
"Bringing in Joshua Landis ... is a real coup," said Moshe Gershovich, a UNO history professor who is director of the Schwalb Center for Israel and Jewish Studies and the Middle East Project Fund. "Everyone who closely follows what is happening in Syria knows Dr. Landis."
Other universities participating in the workshop include Creighton University, the University of Chicago, the University of Michigan, Northwestern University, the University of Colorado, the University of Oklahoma, University of Denver, Wichita State University, Illinois State University and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
This year's workshop, "Minorities, Media, and Democratization in the Contemporary Middle East," is the second such event hosted by UNO.
It expands on last year's inaugural event by including a wider array of scholars from across the country.
The 2012 workshop featured mostly local experts from Nebraska and neighboring states.
The aim is to put UNO "on the map" for Middle Eastern studies, sad Curtis Hutt, special projects coordinator for the Middle East Project Fund and the Schwalb Center.
Charles Mikhail, a Biloxi, Miss., attorney originally from Ramallah in the Palestinian West Bank, is the primary donor for the workshop. He is honorary president of the Middle East Project Fund.
The workshop is co-sponsored by the Middle East Project Fund, the Schwalb Center, and several other UNO academic departments and programs.