Middle East Update with Geoffrey Kemp, Shai Feldman and Ghaith al-Omari

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Location Hall of Philosophy

Gate pass required. Purchase at our Main Gate Welcome Center, (716) 357-6250.

Our annual Middle East Update will be presented in Week Seven, "The Nature of Fear."  

Monday, conversation between Geoffrey Kemp and Shai Feldman, on the existential fears of the Israelis. Tuesday Dr. Kemp interviews Ghaith al-Omari on the existential fears of the Palestinians. Wednesday, he is in conversation with both Shai Feldman and Ghaith al-Omari, on political and policy fears.

Geoffrey Kemp, dir., Regional Security Programs, Center for the National Interest. 
Shai Feldman, Judith and Sidney Swartz Director, Crown Center for Middle East Studies, Brandeis University
Ghaith al-Omari, senior fellow, Washington Institute for Near East Policy

Geoffrey Kemp is Senior Director of Regional Security Programs at the Center for the National Interest. He served in the White House during the first Reagan administration as Special Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs and Senior Director for Near East and South Asian Affairs on the National Security Council Staff.

Prior to his current position, he was a Senior Associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace where he was Director of the Middle East Arms Control Project. In the 1970s he worked in the Defense Department in the Policy Planning and Program Analysis and Evaluation Offices and made major contributions to studies on U.S. security policy and options for South West Asia. From 1970 to 1980, he was a tenured member of the faculty of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University.

He is the author or co-author of many books and monographs on regional security including, most recently, War With Iran: Political, Military, and Economic Consequences. Kemp received his Ph.D. in political science at M.I.T. and his M.A. and B.A. degrees from Oxford University.


Shai Feldman is the Judith and Sidney Swartz Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Professor of Politics at Brandeis University. He is also a Senior Fellow and a member of the Board of Directors of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs where he serves as co-chair of the Crown-Belfer Middle East Project. 

Feldman is also an Associate Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute in London. Previously, Feldman served as a member of the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters. Prior to that, Feldman served as Head of the Jaffee Center for Strategic Studies at Tel Aviv University. He was a Senior Research Associate at the Jaffee Center since its establishment in late 1977. He has also served as director of the Jaffee Center’s Project on U.S. Foreign and Defense Policies in the Middle East and directed the Center’s Project on Regional Security and Arms Control in the Middle East. Educated at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Feldman was awarded his Ph.D. by the University of California at Berkeley.


Ghaith al-Omari, a senior fellow at The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, is the former executive director of the American Task Force on Palestine. Previously, he served in various positions within the Palestinian Authority, including advisor to the negotiating team during the 1999-2001 permanent-status talks. In that capacity, he participated in various negotiating rounds, most notably the Camp David summit and the Taba talks. After the breakdown of the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations, he was the lead Palestinian drafter of the Geneva Initiative, an unofficial model peace agreement negotiated between leading Palestinian and Israeli public figures. He also served as Director of the International Relations Department in the Office of the Palestinian President, and advisor to former Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas.

Al-Omari is a lawyer by training and a graduate of Georgetown and Oxford universities. Prior to his involvement in the Middle East peace process, he taught international law in Jordan and was active in human rights advocacy.