Vail Symposium launches winter programming with a deep dive into Lebanon


Located in the eastern Mediterranean, Lebanon was home to the ancient Phoenicians and Romans. A small country, it has sandy beaches, high mountains and historic ruins. At the turn of the 20th century, France left a lasting and sophisticated impression after two decades of control. Sadly, Lebanon’s history since its independence in 1943 has been tumultuous, including a long civil war.

Despite being thousands of miles away, the future of Lebanon also has an impact on the United States. On Tuesday, December 7 at 6 p.m., Vail Symposium presents a Zoom webinar with Middle Eastern experts Mona Yacoubian from the American Institute for Peace and Dr. Eric Bordenkircher from the UCLA Middle East Center on Lebanon.

“The program will strive to address the reasons why Americans should care about Lebanon,” said Claire Noble, director of programming. “One reason that quickly comes to mind is that as the world’s leading democracy, we should be concerned every time we lose a member of this caucus. Our two experts will explore many other valid reasons.

Lebanon has a heterogeneous population and difficult power-sharing agreements have been destabilized by accusations of corruption and opportunistic neighbors. Iran, Syria and Saudi Arabia meddle in the internal politics of Lebanon. Refugees from regional conflicts are another source of unease.

Recently, the situation in Lebanon has deteriorated further. More than a year after a powerful explosion ravaged Beirut, killing more than 200 people, no one has been brought to justice. Sectarian violence erupts in the streets of Beirut. Saudi Arabia, one of Lebanon’s greatest benefactors, is exerting economic and diplomatic pressure as its regional rivalry with Iran is played out in Lebanon.

In this program, Middle East experts Yacoubian and Bordenkircher will provide the context of the current situation in Lebanon, introduce influential / powerful political parties and key political figures, address factors contributing or exacerbating the current crisis and examine external forces. exerting influence. in Liban. Log in to find out what’s going on in Lebanon and why.

About the speakers

Dr Eric Bordenkircher is currently a research fellow at UCLA’s Middle East Development Center and teaches in the Department of Political Science at George Washington University. Former Visiting Assistant Professor at Claremont McKenna College and Pepperdine University, he focuses on Lebanese and Iraqi politics, US relations and politics towards the Middle East, progressives and US foreign policy , the Arab-Israeli conflict, Islamic movements, governance and the impact (s) of globalization.

Mona Yacoubian is the Senior Advisor to the Vice President Middle East and Africa of the United States Institute of Peace. His work focuses on the analysis and prevention of conflicts in the Middle East with particular emphasis on Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. In 2019, she served as the Executive Director of the Congress-appointed Syria Study Group, which the USIP was mandated to facilitate. Other research interests include violent extremism, fragility, and resilience.


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