Spring events to promote discussion, foster understanding of ongoing war in the Middle East

The university is organizing opportunities for discussion this spring with featured speakers who can promote a more in-depth understanding of the ongoing war in Israel and Gaza.

Members of the Elon University community will have multiple opportunities this spring to increase their understanding of the ongoing war in the Middle East and to participate in productive and civil discussions about its far-reaching impact.

The Ad Hoc Conflict in the Middle East Programming Committee has organized events in March and April as opportunities to learn about the conflict between Israel and Hamas, the history of Israel and Palestine and the many ramifications of the Israel-Hamas war. The committee is c-chaired by Associate Professor of Political Science Carrie Eaves and Professor of Religious Studies Brian Pennington in recognition of the global significance of the conflict with implications for interreligious relations.

In the wake of the Oct. 7 attacks in Israel, Elon hosted “Contextualizing the Conflict: Conversations about the Middle East” in McKinnon Hall, which brought together more than 200 students, faculty and staff for a communitywide discussion.

Pennington said the committee’s principal objective in developing these programs is to ensure that Elon students have ongoing opportunities throughout the semester to learn about this conflict and its many contexts.

“We hope that they hear from our speakers and faculty and engage with one another productively and respectively on issues that spark deep disagreement,” Pennington said. “Students can and should develop their own perspectives on these events, which will continue to shape their futures. Our job is to give them the tools to make sound, informed judgments. That’s what it means to be a global citizen.”

Elon faculty and staff with expertise relevant to the current conflict will host regular lunchtime discussions at the long table in Lakeside Dining Hall throughout the spring semester. Students may sign up to join any of these conversations, which range across a variety of topics. Students interested in participating should email Brian Pennington at bpennington4@elon.edu to learn more about upcoming discussions and to sign up.

Among the events this spring:

Identity, Trauma, Justice: The War Between Israel and Hamas

March 14, 4:30 p.m.
LaRose Digital Theater, KOBC 101

Mira Sucharov is a political scientist at Carleton College who specializes in Israeli-Palestinian relations and Jewish politics.

Is Peace Possible in Palestine/Israel?

April 8, 5:15 p.m.
McBride Gathering Room, Numen Lumen Pavilion

Jonathan Kuttab is a co-founder of the Palestinian human rights group Al-Haq and Nonviolence International. A well-known international human rights attorney, he practices law in the U.S., Palestine and Israel.