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Cornell University School of Continuing Education and Summer Sessions

Study tours

Pre-Reunion in Ithaca: The Middle East: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow

May 31-June 3, 2009

The registration period for this program has passed.
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By June 2009, Barack Obama will have been in office for six months and may already have begun to reshape the U.S. role in Iraq. With the Israeli-Palestinian imbroglio, a political crisis in Lebanon, Iranian ambition and empowerment, Turkish concerns over Kurdish aspirations, and Islamist extremists exploiting these and other tensions, the Middle East will continue to present a hotbed of concerns for the international agenda.

The 2009 Pre-Reunion Seminar will provide us historical and current perspectives from which to understand this turmoil. Among the questions we will address and debate are these: Are the peoples of the Middle East primarily victims of external interference--that of the U.S. included--or internal corruption? What historical factors are at play in these civil and internecine conflicts? In short, what historical baggage is at the root of the turmoil that grips so many Middle Eastern countries?

We feel sure you will enjoy this program. Whether or not it precedes your own class reunion later in the week, it will reintroduce you to the academic stimulation of Cornell at its best. Our seminar will begin Sunday evening, May 31, with a welcome dinner and introductions. We will meet each morning and afternoon, Monday through Wednesday, and conclude with a valedictory dinner Wednesday evening. Daily sessions will include extraordinary lectures and plenty of time for group discussion.


One of Cornell's most respected scholars and exceptional teachers will lead our consideration of the ongoing struggles of the region. Focusing on the shape of those struggles in spring 2009, Ross Brann will help us to understand from what forces they emerged and what future courses we might expect for them. A CAU favorite, Ross is the Milton R. Konvitz Professor of Judeo-Islamic Studies at Cornell, professor of Near Eastern studies, and dean and professor of the Alice H. Cook House.

Program Cost and Travel Arrangements

The program fee of $965 per person includes the full educational program, welcome and closing receptions and dinners, and daily breaks. For those who would like to stay on central campus, we have reserved rooms at the Statler. The Statler rate of $550 (per person, double occupancy) includes four nights' lodging, breakfast, daily lunch, and parking. The supplement for single occupancy is $320. We have also reserved rooms at Hilton's Homewood Suites. The rate there for four nights' lodging, including buffet breakfast and shuttle service to campus, is $258 (per person, double occupancy). The supplement for single occupancy is $258.

Program Notes

No special background is necessary; just come with your experiences, perceptions, and opinions and be ready for an invigorating return to campus.