​Arts, Culture, and Social Change Within the Arab Spring

Cynthia Schneider at Kunstnernes Hus

Please note: This page refers to an event that has already taken place.

Time: Wednesday, 07 December 2011 19:00-20:00
Place: Kunstnernes Hus, Wergelandsveien, Oslo

​The wave of protests that has swept across the Middle East and North Africa has been characterized by unsurpassed levels of innovation. While much of the focus has been on the use of new media, we also see various forms of cultural expression at play, expressing political visions that blend the traditional with the forward looking. What role has arts – and artists – played in the protests? Should we expect the transition regimes to foster a new and different relationship to the cultural sphere? What role could arts play - in healing the wounds from years of repression, in building new relationships, in inspiring change - as a new contract between state and society is being shaped?

We invite you to a debate on how arts and culture impact social change in the Middle East. The seminar will take place in the context of the exhibition at KUNSTNERNES HUS, Composition for Two Wings by Akram Zaatari.

Presentation by Cynthia P. Schneider, Georgetown University
​Comments by Jørgen Jensehaugen, Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU)

The seminar will be chaired by Scott Gates, Research Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW), Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO)

About the Participants:
Professor Cynthia P. Schneider teaches, publishes, and organizes initiatives in the field of cultural diplomacy, with a focus on relations with the Muslim world. She teaches courses in Diplomacy and Culture in the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University, where, from 1984-2005, she was a member of the art history faculty, and published on Rembrandt and seventeenth century Dutch art. Schneider is presently Distinguished Professor in the Practice of Diplomacy, School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University.

Professor Schneider co-directs Los Angeles-based MOST Resource (Muslims on Screen and Television), which provides valuable resources and accurate information on Islam and Muslims for the U.S. entertainment community, and brings together policy leaders with their counterparts in media and entertainment. For the Brookings Institution she leads the Arts and Culture Dialogue Initiative within the Saban Center for Middle East Policy.
Ambassador Schneider publishes and speaks frequently on topics related to arts, culture, and media and international affairs, often with a focus on the Muslim world. Her writings range from blogs for the Huffington Post and CNN.com to policy papers for the Brookings Institution. Her talks include a TED presentation on the global impact of American Idol, as well as speeches on the role of arts and culture in the U.S.–Islamic world relationship in venues from Kurdistan to Cairo.
From 1998-2001 she served as U.S. Ambassador to the Netherlands. In 2001 she was awarded the Office of the Secretary of Defense Exceptional Public Service Award (highest civilian award given by Pentagon, in recognition of support for the U.S. military during ambassadorship). Schneider received her B.A. and Ph.D. from Harvard University and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Jørgen Jensehaugen holds a MA in history from the University of Oslo, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in history at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. His research project is on the Camp David treaty negotiated between Egypt and Israel. He has a background as a researcher at PRIO.
Jensehaugen is the editor of Babylon, the Nordic Journal of Middle East Studies. He has published articles on various aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including such issues as: Palestinian nationalism; Palestinian historiography; the ethnic cleansing of Palestine; the Oslo peace process; the Israeli-Jordanian armistice; history as a political tool; etc.
Scott Gates, Research Professor and Director of the Centre for the Study of Civil War (CSCW), Peace Research Institute, Oslo (PRIO) and Professor of Political Science, Norwegian University of Science & Technology (NTNU). Gates has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan and an MS in Applied Economics from the University of Minnesota.

Gates has published eight books including: Child Soldiers: Children and Armed Conflict in the Age of Fractured States (Pittsburgh, 2009) and Teaching, Tasks, and Trust: Functions of the Public Executive (Russell Sage, 2008). Gates has also published in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, Review of Development Economics, Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, World Development, inter alia.
He is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Peace Research and is the Editor in Chief of the International Area Studies Review. Gates’ current research interests include: governance, political transitions, civil war, insurgency-counter-insurgency dynamics, and policing.

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