From the Director's Desk: YÜKSEL SEZGIN


Over the last year the world has become a more confusing, more dangerous, and a less peaceful place. The challenges that we have encountered, particularly here at home, have been a great concern to our communities, students, and faculty.

From the so-called “Muslim ban” to rising anti-Semitism, and government policies that tar-get public education, knowledge communities, scientific learning and advancement have affirmed the ever-rising need for interdisciplinary programs dedicated to advancement of knowledge in Middle Eastern cultures, languages, history, and politics. 

The Middle Eastern Studies Program of Syracuse University is a quintessential example of such institutions that function as a center of learning and research dedicated exclusively to the study of Middle East and North Africa region.  

As the director, I am happy to report that our program has continued over the past year to grow, and to play an important intellectual role both on campus and beyond.

The challenge of our age is the ever-declining trust among citizens in democratic institu-tions and processes. Democracy can produce its desired outcomes only in a society where open-minded, educated citizens freely participate in the process. 

In this respect, the education of the citizenry is the key. In the absence of such education, democratic experience suffers, and leads to deterioration of our freedoms and the rule of law.

By  the  same  token,  we,  the  educators,  students,  and  producers  of  knowledge  are  the  ul-timate guarantors of justice, democracy, and freedoms that the founding fathers had be-stowed upon us.

We are working very hard to succeed in this intellectual and civic duty. I believe that in the days ahead we will need to work even harder to make sure that we are educating not only our students but also, in meaningful ways, contributing to, intellectual evolution of our communities beyond the campus.  I have utmost confidence that our students, faculty, and  staff  will  rise  to  the  challenge,  and  our  program  will  continue  to  shine  as  a  beacon  of  freedom and hope for the years to come.

As said, we have an important mission and a civic duty to educate. A duty that we must not, and we will not, fail. Over the years many people, who include community members, students, and alumni, with their generous support, help made sure that we did not fail. And, counting on your continued support, I know that we will not fail.

I personally thank everyone for their hard work, dedication, and support that you have graciously bestowed upon our program.  I hope that you will consider supporting our pro-grams and activities by making a tax deductible donation at http://www.maxwell.syr.edu/giving (please designate “MESP” as the recipient in the comment box).