The University of Iowa

The Arab Spring in a Global Context

Provost's Global Forum 2015 (April 28-May 1)

The Provost's Global Forum will kick off with a live WorldCanvass show on Tuesday, April 28. Hosted by Joan Kjaer, the show will introduce the audience to many of the forum's keynote speakers as they discuss their personal work and research areas related to the Arab Spring.

The wave of uprisings known as the Arab Spring may have changed or at least challenged the relationship between the governed and governing actors not only in Arab countries but in other societies with Muslim people around the world. New legal regimes may now navigate sectarian, gender, and religious fault lines in differing ways. Emerging issues and changing circumstances are providing scholars from all academic disciplines with opportunities to apply and/or revise old theories and produce a body of new knowledge about issues of social change, social justice, racial/ethnic and gender relations, the law, public policy, economic development, and international politics in a global context.

Read more in Ahmed Souaiaia's commentary for the Iowa City Press-Citizen.

The forum is an opportunity for public engagement and the exchange and sharing of ideas for scholars from all disciplines including: area studies (international studies, Middle Eastern studies, Asian studies, African studies, and Eurasian studies), business, health sciences, journalism and mass communication, social sciences (anthropology, political science, psychology, and sociology), humanities (arts, cultural studies, history, gender and race, linguistics and literature, philosophy, religious studies, and rhetoric), education, and law.

Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland and a non-resident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, will deliver the Joel Barkan Memorial Lecture on Wednesday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m., in the Old Capitol Senate Chamber.  On April 30 and May 1, the forum will feature the presentation of research papers and reports, roundtable conversations, and panel discussions. The forum will also feature musical performances, book exhibits, film and documentary screenings, the taping of an interview-format television show, and art and document displays.

Please see the Schedule of Events for complete event details.

Forum Staff and Sponsors

Ahmed E. Souaiaia, the recipient of this year’s Provost’s Global Forum Award, is a faculty member at the University of Iowa with joint appointment in Religious Studies, International Studies, and College of Law, with teaching and research interests focusing on the Arab Spring.

Forum Planning Committee:

Edward Minor (Chair), Paul Dilley, Ari Ariel, and Yoko Nakamura


Title: Unfinished Business: The Arts of the New Arab Revolutions
Curator: Edward Miner
Location: Old Capitol Museum, Second Floor Rotunda
Time: Monday, February 16, 2015 to Sunday, August 2, 2015

Media and Public Relations:

Joan Kjaer, WorldCanvass
Lauren Katalinich
Adam Tisdale

Events and Project Specialists

Sarolta Petersen and Shereena Honary


This forum is made possible through the support of International Programs; the Stanley UI-Foundation Support Organization; the Division of World Languages, Literatures & Cultures; the Department of Communication Studies; the School of Journalism and Mass Communication; the Department of Political Science; the Department of Religious Studies; UI Libraries; and the UI Center for Human Rights


Sarolta Petersen
Events and Project Specialist
International Programs

Ahmed E. Souaiaia
Associate Professor, Islamic Studies
University of Iowa