During Tuesday's Forum address Dr. Vali Nasr, dean of the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, helped the campus community understand the current tensions in the Middle East, the reasons for United States' involvement and what can be done to stabilize the region.
Nasr, whose family fled Iran during its 1979 revolution and went to Salt Lake City for refuge, said he believes his mission in life is to help increase understanding of the issues of the Middle East. Part of this mission includes clarification on why the west is so concerned with this region. He said insurgency and terrorism are now the primary concerns rather than oil dependency.
He emphasized the role religion plays in the region and how a non-religious approach to government struggles in countries like the United States in addition to the Middle East.
"Secularism in the Middle East has failed," Nasr said. "The rise of religion and its relevance to politics is not unique to the Middle East."
Part of the struggle in the region, he explained, stems from discrimination issues between the Sunni and Shia factions of Islam. The effect of this discrimination influences government and social interactions.
“Whenever a division of power is decided by who you are, that makes that division politicized," Nasr said.
While there are no quick fixes in a region so complex, Nasr cited a general course of action that he believes is the answer to many of the burning questions and concerns with the Middle East.
"What we can do is to help contain ISIS and bring some kind of closure to the wars in Syria and Iraq," Nasr said. "In the longer run, the solution to the challenges in this region ultimately requires economic growth and business."
Next Week's Devotional
The campus community is in for a treat next Tuesday, October 28, at 11:05 a.m., in the Marriott Center, at the “Into the Mountains” Dance Assembly, presented by the BYU Department of Dance.
This entertaining, uplifting and fun program will feature the best of dance art at BYU. The five BYU traveling dance groups: Ballroom Dance Company, Contemporary Dance Theatre, International Folk Dance Ensemble, Living Legends and Theatre Ballet will perform highlights from their amazing, internationally-tested repertoire. Each number was selected specifically for this assembly, which was inspired by President Worthen’s Inaugural address to “go to the mountains.”
Writer: Nate Depperman