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About Year of Middle East

Though the United States has been deeply involved in shaping the contemporary MiddleEast, most Americans’ perceptions of the region have been clouded by images of bloodshed, political turmoil, and religious conflict. Yet there is more to the Middle East than unrest and violence. The Year of the Middle East aims to present a more textured picture that highlights diversity, celebrates cultural complexity, and emphasizes interconnections.

The Middle East has served as the cultural gateway between East and West, provided central stops along global trade routes, and galvanized global dynamics around oil and water resources. From the region’s ancient history, to the rise of three of the world’s great religions, to current issues such as the Arab Spring, we plan to explore a variety of topics to highlight the region’s rich plurality.

The 2014-15 Year of the Middle East series integrates art, history, literature, religion, political analysis, architecture, geography, the social and environmental sciences, and other disciplines to enable students, alumni, and the Commonwealth to gain a better understanding of the Middle East as well as its connections to and differences from the U.S.