Arabia: Fractured Alliances, New Partners

Course Dates: 
8 weeks: March 25, April 1, 8, 15, 22, 29, May 6, 13
Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Larry Wilson
Course Catalogs: 
2020 Spring

We will explore aspects of Arab heritage, including the influence of Islam today. We will identify economic, political and social conditions across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region that provide context for current issues such as dissatisfaction with government, youth unemployment, and dashed expectations resulting from the “Arab Spring.” We will discuss the impact of terrorism, Israeli-Palestinian tensions, impact of the attempted isolation of Iran, the fracturing of traditional Arab alliances, moves by China and Russia to fill the vacuum created by U.S. withdrawal, and the projected outcomes of U.S. administrative actions upon prospects for peace in the Middle East.

Instructor: Larry Wilson ( has worked with the government of the United Arab Emirates for 21 years and lived there for 12 years. He was a founder and then deputy vice-president of Zayed University, a federal university for Emirati female students and as the designer and director of a national school reform project. Currently he is working on a new federal program to promote tolerance, inclusion and peace in the UAE and, hopefully, across the Middle East, and beyond. He also has worked in Egypt, Oman, and Qatar. Larry holds a doctorate in chemistry and served as the provost and interim chancellor of UNC Asheville and as the president of Marietta College in Ohio. He founded the World Affairs Council of Western North Carolina and assisted Chancellor David Brown in establishing the North Carolina Center for Creative Retirement, now OLLI.


Course Outline