Kurdish American Education Society-Los Angeles  Seminar Announcement:

Democratization in Syria, Perspectives and prospects, Syria and Kurds at the Crossroads of Change

Hosted by the Kurdish American Education Society-LA  and co-sponsored by various departments and programs at California State University, Long Beach and Kurdish Community of Southern California

This seminar will provide a forum for those who have an interest in exploring the unfolding developments in Syria as the contending forces in the multi-ethnic and religiously diverse Syria are attempting to reshape the country in its challenging path to democratization. These developments have been both the source of inspiration and uncertainty for Syrians as a whole, ethnic and religious minorities including Kurds, in particular.  The program is based on the critical need for understanding the gravity and complexity of the humanitarian and political crisis both regionally and internationally. Our distinguished panelists consisting of academics, human rights activists, researchers, lawyers, journalists, and representatives of the Syrian and Kurdish opposition, will discuss the key issues that Syrians are confronting. The seminar will consist of two consecutive panels on separate but related themes. Each panel will consist of short talks on specific topics, debates and panel discussions that will feature distinguished speakers from investigative media, history, political science, law, religion, human and language rights, and political opposition.  The key themes of the seminar are as follows:

·      The humanitarian crisis and relief efforts
·      Historical context
·      The cultural fabric of Syria and its political implications
·      Minorities and human and civil rights in Syria
·      Kurds and linguistic rights
·      Democratization and Islamization
·      Political opposition, perspectives and prospects for change
·      Sectarianism and its implications
·      The role of minorities in the protests and armed conflict
·      Regional and international diplomacy
·      Syria and political dilemmas
·      Prospects for change in the post Assad Period

The seminar will be conducted on Oct 6, 2012 at the California State University, the University Theater (UT) from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM.

For registration click here.

Please direct inquiries to :  sharifiamir5@gmail.com or   Hiwa Nezhadian : hiwan@msn.com

Seminar Speakers

Seminar speakers include leading figures from academia, political science, history, international law, human rights, media, and political activists from California and across the world. They will either directly address the audience or come to us through Skype.


Los Angeles                             Dr. James Gelvin: University of California, Los Angeles, Department of History, scholar and historian of the modern  Middle East, with particular emphasis on the root causes and history of  social and religious movements  and their contemporary history of conflict with the West, prolific  author of  many books,  articles, and book chapters on Islam, politics, nationalism, secularism, Arab Spring,  political and historical developments in different parts of the Middle East including Syria

Geneva:                                     Dr. Jordi Tejel: The Graduate Studies Institute, Geneva, professor, scholar and author  of several books on the Middle East and North Africa with particular focus on minorities, multiculturalism, armed conflict, author of Kurds. Syria’s Kurds: History, Politics and Society

Tennessee                               Dr. Michael Gunter: University of Tennessee, professor, scholar, historian, and cited authority on Kurdish question, prolific author of many books, articles and book chapters on Kurdish nationalism, struggle, and conflict.

Arizona                                     Dr. Christian Sinclair: University of Arizona and Exeter University, assistant director of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies with research interest in Kurdish politics in Syria, media, language policy and planning, author of  Kurds Will No Longer “Be Quiet, and Syrian Kurds in Europe, 2010: migration, asylum, and deportation

New York                                 Dr. Sarah Leah Whitson: Executive Director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa division, scholar of law  and author of many articles on human rights in the Middle East and North Africa

Los Angeles                             Dr. Barry Fisher: lawyer and human rights advocate with national and international public interest; former Vice President, Human Rights Advocates International,  Chairman, World Jurist Association :Religion Rights Committee, author of several articles and presentations on racial, religious and political minorities including Kurds

Berkley, California              Mr. Reese Erlich:  Independent investigative international journalist, author of several books including Conversations with Terrorists and a myriad of articles and reports on the Middle East and Kurds

Washington, D.C                   Mr. Sirwan kajjo: Syrian Kurdish journalist and a human rights advocate and reporter, co-founder and columnist of The Kurdish Review, poet, co-author with Sinclair of the Evolution of Kurdish Politics in Syria

Washington, D.C.                  Dr. Shirko Abbass: Washington, D.C. President of the Kurdish National Assembly of Syria, author of several articles on the Kurdish question

Canada,                                     Dr.Ihsan Efrini:  Member of the Syrian political assembly, representative of Kurdish National Council of Syria in North America,

Los Angeles                             Mr. Luqman Barwari,   President of Kurdish National Congress of North America, activist and community organizer in multiple Kurdish cultural and educational organizations, educational adviser, organizer and presenter  in national and international conferences

Washington, D.C                    Mr.Rami Nakhla: Representative of the Syrian National Congress, director for the Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression, human rights and gender equality

Germany                                   Dr. Kamiran Haj Abdo,  member of the KNC foreign relations committee in Europe, the  spokesperson Yeketi , Union of Democratic Party , member of delegation  to the U.S

Los Angeles                           Mr.Mohamed Zadeh, Kurdish indepnedent activist, human rights activist in Bulgaria, Turkey and Washington D.C , interest in research on the culture, history, and geography of Kurds in Syria

Los Angeles                             Dr. Amir Sharifi: California State University, lecturer with research interest in language, culture, sociolinguistics,  translation, heritage language socialization, language  policy and planning , and language rights, author of many articles on Kurds and language rights, president of Kurdish American Education Society (KAES)

Participants: University students, faculty, and the general public .


We  appreciates the generous support we have received from the following :

Ø  Department of Linguistics
Ø  Department of Anthropology
Ø  Department of Geography
Ø  Middle East/Near East Sub-Committee of the International Education Committee, Middle Eastern Studies
Ø  Peace and Social Justice Program
Ø  Chicano and Latino studies
Ø  Multi-Cultural Center
Ø  Persian Student Association
Ø  Linguistic Students Association

·      Community organization: Kurdish Community of Southern California (KCSC)

For more details and registration, visit the Seminar Website