A century of geopolitics in the Middle East

In cooperation with Gravin Van Bylandtstichting and Nederlands Genootschap voor Internationale Zaken

20feb2019 19:30 - 21:30


The end of World War I marked the beginning of turbulent times for the Middle East. During this Gravin Van Bylandt Century Session, NGIZ Amsterdam examines the geopolitical history of the Middle East. How has it shaped the region, and which perspectives does it offer for the future?

One hundred years ago, the end of First World War marked the beginning of a turbulent period in the Middle East after a period of relative stability under Ottoman rule. Western interests, signified by documents like the Balfour Declaration, the Sykes-Picot Agreement, and the Treaty of Sèvres, turned the region into an area of volatility, conflict, and geopolitics. Today, a century later, the region has changed significantly. The volatility and geopolitical struggles, however, have not. As the civil war in Syria is drawing to a close, the power balance in the region seems to be shifting: an established presence of Russia, growing Iranian influence, and a cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran with consequences throughout the region. During this Century Session, the authors and former news correspondents Peyman Jafari and Carl Stellweg will examine the geopolitical history of the Middle East and how it shaped the region, as well as look ahead at the region's perspectives for the future. Will US influence retreat further? Can Russia consolidate its new stature? Is a direct conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia inevitable? 

About the speakers

Peyman Jafari is a historian at the University of Amsterdam and a fellow at the International Institute of Social History. He specialises in Iran and its role in the Middle East. Carl Stellweg is a translator and a journalist who has published several books. He was born in Lebanon and has spent many years in the Middle East reporting for Algemeen Dagblad.

Marina Calculli specialises in political violence and army-society relations with a focus on the Middle East. She currently lectures in Middle Eastern Politics at Leiden University.

Carl Stellweg is a former correspondent, publicist and translator.


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