Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A glance at a timeline of events in the Arab world since the December 2010 anti-government demonstrations in Tunisia that triggered what we now know as the Arab Spring reveals a swift and previously unthinkable resetting of the geo-political map of the Middle East.  What followed those heady early days has been a toppling of dictatorships, emboldened public action, a sharpening of divisions within national and religious groups, humanitarian crises of alarming proportions, and challenges to major world powers unlike anything in recent memory. Internationally-renowned scholars on the Middle East and Arab world will join host Joan Kjaer when WorldCanvass explores “The Arab Spring in a Global Context.”

This is the first event of the 2015 Provost’s Global Forum, and the public is invited to attend the free program at 5 p.m., April 28, at FilmScene in Iowa City. 

Dr. Ahmed Souaiaia, associate professor of Islamic Studies at the UI, who teaches in the Department of Religious Studies and at the College of Law, has organized this year’s Provost’s Global Forum (April 28-May 1) as an opportunity for the exchange and sharing of ideas for scholars from all academic disciplines.  See the full schedule of events and activities.

According to Souaiaia, “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.”

Joining Souaiaia in addressing these complex and ever-evolving issues will be: Juan Cole, Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan; Shibley Telhami, Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland; Sahar Khamis, associate professor, Department of Communication, University of Maryland; and Walid Afifi, professor and chair, Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa.

WorldCanvass: The Arab Spring in a Global Context

Part 1- 5:00-5:25
The Arab Spring: from early promise to chaos

  • Ahmed Souaiaia-associate professor of Islamic Studies, Department of Religious Studies, College of Law, University of Iowa

Part 2- 5:30-5:55
Media as an active player in the Arab Spring

  • Sahar Khamis-associate professor, Department of Communication, University of Maryland
  • Walid Afifi-professor and chair,  Department of Communication Studies, University of Iowa

Part 3- 6:00-6:25
Global impact of the Arab Spring

  • Juan Cole-Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History, University of Michigan
  • Shibley Telhami-Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development, University of Maryland

You’re invited to attend WorldCanvass at FilmScene, Iowa City’s non-profit cinema arts organization, 118 East College Street. Concessions will be available for purchase and audience members are invited to enjoy a social hour from 4:00-5:00 p.m. preceding the show.  

We encourage you to use #worldcanvass when posting on social media before, during, and after the show, or mention @uiowaIP on Twitter.

WorldCanvass is recorded before a live audience for later broadcast on UITV, YouTube, iTunes, and the Public Radio Exchange. Podcasts can be downloaded for free from iTunes and past programs are available through IP’s website here.

WorldCanvass is a production of UI International Programs in collaboration with FilmScene and University of Iowa Video Services. For more information on WorldCanvass, contact Joan Kjaer at or visit the WorldCanvass webpage