The Middle Eastern Studies Program held its first annual awards ceremony on April 25, 2008 to recognize a number of student achievements and to say goodbye to the twenty “Leaders for Democracy” fellows from the Arab world. The evening’s celebrations included dinner, music, and with the fellows’ enthusiastic leader- ship, serious dancing.

Three undergraduate students were recognized in connection with the 2008 Hasan Abdullah Yabroudi Stu- dent Paper Award. Sara Brainard won the award for her paper “Hamas: Incentives and Influences.” Megan Kale and Laurel Roberson received Honorable Mentions for their respective papers on “Women’s Representa- tion in Ottoman Society” and “Conflicting Views of Modernity.” Two graduate students from the Maxwell School were also recognized for receiving Goekjian Middle East Summer Research Grants. Michael Makara, a second year doctoral student in political science, will use the grant to travel to Yemen this summer to study Arabic. Sarah Marusek, a first year doctoral student in social science, will spend the summer in Tehran studying Persian and conducting preliminary field research. Both students will then participate in a series of seminars during the 2008-2009 academic year along with this year’s ten other Goekjian fellows.

The MESP was sad to say goodbye to our twenty democracy fellows, who this year made a very charismatic group. Steve Lux, Assistant Director of the Executive Education Program and organizer of the fellowship operation, handed out souvenirs to each participant. And as a parting gesture to honor his colleagues, Fahad Al Tukhaim from Kuwait gave a ragingly funny slide show presentation in which each fellow was likened to a cartoon character!

Also recognized was Dr. Joshua Stacher, our visiting fellow, who will be leaving Syracuse after this semester but fortunately will maintain an affiliation with the MESP.