Afghans defied threats of violence and all odds to cast their ballots for president in April. Though initially, results favored candidate Abdullah Abdullah, a former Foreign Minister, it was not enough to avoid a runoff. The runoff began in June with early reports favoring candidate Ashraf Ghani, the former Finance Minister. That was when it all fell apart. Both camps began to accuse one another of fraud and there were demands for a recount and even the threat of forming separate governments. The situation has been in deadlock until this past week.
The History News Network has published my article on the so-called Islamic Caliphate in Iraq set up by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria alternatively known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. My article is entitled, “The 10 Questions You Need Answers to About the Caliphate.” In the article I look at the historical background to the Islamic Caliphate, dispel some myths about the origins of the Sunni and Shia divide, examine the historical significance of this so-called caliphate and what it means for Muslims and for the United States. Everything you need to know about the situation. Be sure to check it out, like, and share! http://hnn.us/article/156280
UCLA is putting on an important presentation called “Why History Matters” which aims to explore the role and space for historians in the professional world outside of academia. The presentation is part of the American Historical Association aim–for which it just received a grant–to train historians to pursue wider career opportunities in cultural institutions, government, public education, and private sectors.
Appearing on the panel discussion will be:
The History News Network has published my latest article analyzing the ongoing presidential elections in Afghanistan. I examine the parallels between the current political climate in Afghanistan alongside its previous attempt at democracy under Daoud Khan. The article examines the fundamental structural problems that any newly elected president will face in Afghanistan while exploring the difficulties and ruptures in political power and sovereignty. Be sure to check it out: http://hnn.us/article/155183
A month or so ago, Syria was all over the news as the international community turned its gaze to the ongoing conflict within the Middle Eastern nation. At the time, intelligence pointed to the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government against the rebel forces. This act was considered crossing a “red line” by several Western powers and led to talks of intervention, political maneuvering, and international diplomatic scrambling. There was an uproar among the American population that pushed against any intention of intervention, no doubt a reaction kindled strongly by the memory of our intervention in Iraq with its lead up, misrepresentations, and eventual consequences. Yet for many Americans, the sudden coverage of Syria and our governments talk of intervention was the first time they had any true exposure to the situation in Syria. Today, Syria has once more taken a periphery position in news coverage and only the occasional development make it to the wider American audience. However, the situation in Syria has been going on for over two years and continues until today.
Back in May, Kofi Annan presented at the Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership at UCLA. The format involved 30 minutes of speech followed by 30 minutes of questions moderated by journalist Laura Ling, herself a UCLA alumni. The lecture was informative, interesting, and highlighted his experience at the United Nations and his hopes for the future.
On May 30th Kofi Annan, former U.N. Secretary General will be at UCLA for the Luskin Lecture. He will be joined by Laura Ling who will moderate the lecture. Kofi Annan will talk about his experience as Secretary General, the international consequences of the Iraq War, his new book, and the leadership of tomorrow.
The lecture will be on May 30th at 5pm and should not be missed. To find out more or to buy your tickets visit the website here:
I will be attending and will post my thoughts about the lecture afterward here on my blog.
On Tuesday, March 26th, the Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments for Prop 8, a Californian proposition passed in 2008 banning gay marriage. The very next day the Supreme Court heard arguments for The Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA, an act passed in 1996 defining marriage as heterosexual or as between a man and a woman. Both high-profile cases mark historic moments for the gay rights movement and for the nation as a whole as people tuned in to get a glimpse of which way the high court of the land may be leaning. No decision has been made, but there are indications of which way the court may be leaning in either case.
Since the tragedy of Sandy Hook Elementary School, a debate has been raging throughout the United States about the role of gun rights in the nation. People have come down on both sides of the debate and yet, what the debate is about isn’t always so clear. Worse still, politicians seem unwilling to act despite the demands of the nation.
Wednesday, March 6th UCLA will hold a conference and discussion featuring Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent John Deasy. Together they will talk about the future of education for the Los Angeles Unifed School District. They will talk about future goals, propose reforms, and overall discuss the blueprint for future education of Los Angeles.