"Minorities, and others, don't need protection in the Middle East. Instead, we need a Middle East where human life is respected, without the complex calculations of alliances and interests taking precedence. Otherwise, after the protection ends, what comes next?" asked Dr. Paul Haidostian, president of Beirut's Haigazian University, in a talk sponsored by the USC Institute of Armenian Studies, on Monday, September 29, 2014.
A broad spectrum of members of the Armenian community, students and faculty came to hear Dr. Haidostian, in conversation with Dr. Laurie Brand, director of the USC Middle East Studies Program.
The talk, entitled, "A Middle East With No Minorities?" centered around the role of minorities in various Middle Eastern countries, the institutional, constitutional and practical definitions of the role of various minorities, the increasing identification of more and more groups as minorities, the perception of justice and injustice by and towards minorities, and the increasing complexity of the path to resolving any of these problems.
Dr. Haidostian, president of a small liberal arts university in the center of Beirut, spoke about Lebanon's sectarian governance system, the role of education in diminishing traditional perceptions of majority / minority cultures, and the huge impact of the West's interpretations of events in the Middle East.
The lunchtime meeting was the first in what will become a series of occasional meetings with local and visiting scholars and dignitaries.
The USC Institute of Armenian Studies (established 2005) supports multidisciplinary scholarship to re-define, explore and study the complex issues that make up the contemporary Armenian experience -- from post-Genocide to the developing Republic of Armenia to the evolving Diaspora. The Institute encourages research, publications and public service, and benefits from communication technologies to link together the global academic and Armenian communities.