We will explore aspects of Arab heritage and social conditions across the Middle East-North Africa region that led to the development of Islam and have influenced its practices today. These concepts will provide context for discussion of current issues such as dissatisfaction with government, uneven distribution of wealth, youth unemployment, social conditions, lower petroleum prices and western colonialism. We will consider the impact these issues have on the launch, spread and outcomes of the “Arab Spring” uprisings and to linkages with the more prominent extremist groups such as Al Qaeda and ISIS. We will discuss the international impact of terrorism, Israeli-Palestinian tensions, refugee-related issues, the splitting of traditional Arab alliances and the projected outcomes of US administrative actions and policies upon prospects for peace in the Middle East.
For the last 20 years Larry Wilson (email@example.com) has worked in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), living there for more than 12 years. He served as one of the founders of Zayed University and as its Deputy Vice President/Provost, reported to the Minister of Higher Education, with a year out to design and direct a project to reform the entire national public school system. He now serves as an advisor to the Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development in the UAE. He has also worked with the educational systems in Qatar, Oman and Egypt. He has held university positions in the US, including UNC Asheville.