McDaniel often brings speakers to campus to lecture on topics of interest. There are always a variety of topics, and I’d guestimate that there’s one every two weeks at minimum. On Tuesday, Dr Shibley Telhami, who teaches at the University of Maryland at College Park, came and gave a lecture. He has recently published a book called From Egypt to Syria, to the Arab Israeli Conflict: Understanding Tumult in the Middle East.
The entirety of McDaniel Lounge was packed, which was great to see, though some unlucky people had to stand. Dr. Telhami spoke for about an hour and touched upon some really interesting topics I hadn’t thought too much about before and some I had. He spoke about the huge influence of the information revolution and social media as well as how people form their identities and how fluid these identities are. I was particularly fascinated by the role public opinion plays even in countries ruled by dictatorships.
Dr. Telhami also does quite a bit of poll analysis, and he spoke about some interesting results he’d found. In the six Middle Eastern countries he surveyed, he found that many people said the most admired world figure was former French president, Jacques Chirac. As Chirac opposed the United States’ invasion of Iraq, he had been viewed in particularly good light, which shows how a lot of Middle Eastern people pay a lot of attention to foreign affairs.
It’s always great to have an outsider speak about interesting topics, and I’m looking forward to some of the upcoming ones, such as a lecture on Einstein’s legacy and a talk with a CIA attorney. You can find a list of upcoming events here.