top of page



June 21-23, 2021

Rewriting the Paradigm on Foreign Affairs



The Symposium is a three-day virtual conference on foreign affairs featuring leading academics from institutions throughout the world:

  • Tulane University

  • The U.S. Department of Defense

  • The University of Michigan

  • George Washington University

  • The U.S. Department of State

  • Arizona State University

  • ANU-Palestine

  • American University of Beirut

Presented by the Tulane Journal of Policy and Political Economy, the Symposium dives deeper into the most critical issues of our time. By elevating perspectives often overlooked in traditional political-economic conversations, and by tackling ideas at the forefront of public controversy, it aims to rewrite the paradigm on foreign affairs.

Free of charge for all attendees, the Symposium is comprised of eleven separate events over three days. These lectures cover a range of topics, including religion and nationalism in Russia's north caucuses, U.S. foreign policy towards China and Taiwan, and western misconceptions of the Israel-Palestine conflict.

Image by Louie Martinez



The Symposium's eleven events are divided into three days, each of which covers one of the following subject areas:

11:00am CST

Writing Female Body and Sexuality in Modern Arabic Literature.

Dr. Miral Mahgoub, Arizona State University

12:30pm CST

Western Misconceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Dr. Hasan Ayoub, Al-Najah University Palestine


Hamas's Role in Gaza and the West Bank

Dr. Hilal Khashan, American University of Beirut

3:30pm CST

Effectiveness of Tulane University's Mandel-Palagye Program

Dr. Brian Horowitz, Tulane University


June 21

The Middle East

Lecture Cancelled

9:30am CST

U.S. Foreign Policy in China and Taiwan

Dr. Christopher Fettweis, Tulane University

11:00am CST 

Rise of Hindu Nationalism and its Implications for

South Asian Political Dynamics

Dr. Andrew Ward, Tulane University


June 22

East Asia & India

11:00am CST

Resiliance and Resistance in the Russia-Ukraine Conflict

Dr. Greta Uehling, the University of Michigan

12:30pm CST

The Myths and Realities of Russia's 'Grand' Strategy

Dr. Mariya Omelicheva, National War College, National Defense University


2:00pm CST

Religion and Nationalism in Russia's North Caucasus

Dr. Sufian Zhemukhov, George Washington University

3:30pm CST

Emotions in Modern Russia

Dr. Raymond Taras, Tulane University


June 23

Russia & Eastern Europe

Additionally, we are pleased to feature J. Nathan Bland, Diplomat in Residence at Tulane University, who will deliver a lecture on his experience as a U.S. foreign service officer. Bland will speak at 2:00pm CST on Monday, June 21st (RSVP below).

Image by Raimond Klavins

Speakers & RSVP

Read more about each speaker below. To RSVP, click the "RSVP" button below the speaker's photo.



11:00am CST: Writing Female Body and Sexuality in Modern Arabic Literature.



Professor of Arabic
Arizona State University

Miral Mahgoub al-Tahawy is an associate professor of Modern Arabic literature, an award-winning Egyptian novelist and short story writer, and an affiliated member of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University. Her professional contributions include four academic books published in Arabic, nine refereed articles published in international peer-reviewed journals. She also has published nine refereed book chapters in English.

As a literary figure, Mahgoub al-Tahawy was named "One of the Most Influential Writers of the Oriental World" and "One of most powerful Middle Eastern writers" by Forbes magazine in 2014.

Mahgoub al-Tahawy has written four award-winning novels, each of which has garnered national and international recognition. Most are now taught around the world as part of standard curricula in Arabic literature in translation. Her literary work has now been translated into more than 15 languages. 

12:30pm CST: Western Misconceptions of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

Hasn Ayoub.jpg


Chair of the Political Science Department
Al-Najah University Palestine

Hasan S. Ayoub, Assistant Professor and Head of the Political Science Department at An-Najah National University (ANU) in the City of Nablus. His work at ANU and his personal research revolves around changes and shifts in international political system, American Foreign Policy, and Palestinian politics. He is also active in professional training on topics of conflict resolution, good governance and democracy, and Human Rights.


Ayoub is a Member of the Global Network on the Question of Palestine. He received his PhD in Comparative Politics and International Politics from Joseph Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver (DU) in 2012. He took sabbatical leave to work as a visiting scholar and researcher with the Centre for ME Studies at the University of Denver (DU) in the academic year 2020-2021. Through this period, Ayoub taught 2 courses: Intro to International Studies for BA students, and he designed and taught a course titled: Peace and Conflict in the ME for BA and MA students. 

3:30pm CST: The Effectiveness of Tulane University's Mandel-Palagye Program



Professor and Associate Chair of the Jewish Studies Department
Tulane University

Professor Horowitz's books include Jewish Philanthropy and Enlightenment in Late-Tsarist Russia (University of Washington Press, 2009) and Empire Jews: Jewish Nationalism and Acculturation in Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Century Russia (Slavica, 2009). In addition to his studies of Jewish History, he is a trained Slavist and has written on Russian intellectual history and the work of the poet Alexander Pushkin. Horowitz received his Ph.D. and MA in Slavic Languages and Literatures at University of California, Berkeley, and his BA from New York University.



9:30am CST: U.S. Foreign Policy in China and Taiwan



Professor of Political Science
Tulane University

Dr. Christopher Fettweis is an Associate Professor of political science at Tulane University in New Orleans, Louisiana. He recieved his PhD from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2003 and currently specializes in international relations with a concentration in national security. Before Tulane, Fettweis served as an Assistant Professor of National Security Affairs at the Naval War College.

Fettweis is the author of five books, including his most recent title, The Psychology of  Superpower: Security and Dominance in U.S. Foreign Policy. He has aso published extensively on the topic of foreign affairs, authoring over fifteen journal articles and nine book chapters.

11:00am CST: Rise of Hindu Nationalism and its Implications for South Asian Political Dynamics



Professor of Political Science
Tulane University

From Appalachian snake-handlers to Aghora Babas in India, Andrew Ward has been tracking religious extremism around the world for over 20 years. He earned his B.A. in Religion from Mary Washington College, then taught English Literature at Polonia University in Częstochowa, Poland while earning a Master of Education from Framingham State College’s European campus.

He moved to New Orleans in 2004 receiving his M.S. in International Development and a Ph.D. in International Development from Tulane University. Along the way, Ward studied Sufi poetry in Lucknow, India, and anti-environmental religious forces at Benares Hindu University. He has also established and directed several nonprofit organizations in the New Orleans area. One of these is Voices for International Business and Education, which operates the International High School of New Orleans. He is the founder and director of the Wahida Unity Project which uses music and the arts to bridge the divide between the US and the Islamic World. He is also the co-founder and chairman of the largest music festival in East Africa, the HIV Awareness "iKnow" Concert Series in Uganda and Rwanda. As a Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Tulane University, Ward specializes in sustainable international development and the impacts of religious nationalism. 



11:00am CST: The Conflicts over Donbas and Crimea: Conundrums, Paradoxes, and Surprises of Internal Population Displacement in Ukraine



Lecturer II, Program in International and Comparative Politics
The University of Michigan, Center for Russian and East European Studies

Greta Uehling’s research is broadly concerned with human rights and humanitarianism. She specializes in the study of forced migration, internal population displacement, and refugees. A number of professional experiences inform her scholarship. 


Uehling held a consultancy at the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in Geneva, and contributed to projects with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, the High Commissioner for National Minorities, and the United States Agency for International Development. She has also worked on issues of child smuggling and human trafficking. Uehling was a Fulbright Scholar in Ukraine 2015-2017.


She currently teaches in the Program on International and Comparatives Studies at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. As for her background, Uehling received her Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the University of Michigan and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Solomon Asch Center for the Study of Ethnopolitical Conflict at the University of Pennsylvania. 

12:30pm CST: Myths and Realities of Russia's 'Grand' Strategy



Professor of National Security Strategy
National War College, National Defense University

Dr. Mariya Y. Omelicheva is a Professor of Strategy at National War College, National Defense University. She also teachers at the Security Studies Program of Georgetown University. Dr. Omelicheva holds PhD (2007) in Political Science from Purdue University and JD in International Law (2000) from Moscow National Law Academy.


Dr. Omelicheva's research interests include international and Eurasian security, counterterrorism and human rights, democracy promotion in the post-Soviet territory, Russia's foreign and security policy, and crime-terror nexus. She is the author of Counterterrorism Policies in Central Asia (Routledge 2011), which received an Outstanding Academic Title award by Choice, Democracy in Central Asia: Competing Perspectives and Alternate Strategies (University Press of Kentucky 2015), and Webs of Corruption: Trafficking-Terrorism Nexus in Central Asia (Columbia University Press, 2019, with Lawrence Markowitz), and editor of Nationalism and Identity Construction in Central Asia: Dimensions, Dynamics, and Directions (Lexington 2015).

2:00pm CST: Religion and Nationalism in Russia's North Caucasus



Professor of International Affairs
George Washington University

Sufian N. Zhemukhov is Associate Research Professor of International Affairs at George Washington University where he teaches course, Politics of Russia. His research interests include ethnic politics, nationalism, and religion. His recent book, Mass Religious Ritual and Intergroup Tolerance: The Muslim Pilgrims’ Paradox (Cambridge University Press, 2017; co-author Mikhail A. Alexseev), explores how ingroup diversity reduces intergroup tension. The book received the 2019 Best Book Award in Religion and International Relations by International Studies Association and an Honorable Mention for the 2018 Harriman Rothschild Book Prize by Association for the Study of Nationalities.

3:30pm CST: Emotions in Modern Russia



Professor of Political Science
Tulane University

Born and educated in Montreal, Ray Taras completed postgraduate degrees at European universities. He began publishing scholarly books in the 1980s and has authored or edited over twenty books: on the collapse of the USSR, Russia's identity in international relations, the rise of liberal and illiberal nationalisms, the internationalization of ethnic conflict, the dangers of xenophobia and Islamophobia, the critique of multiculturalism, the impact of fear on foreign policy making, and a new understanding of nationhood. Currently he is researching xenophobia and its linkage to modern-day slavery.


Taras has served on the faculty of universities in North America and Europe including Harvard, Stanford, Michigan, Vermont, European University Institute, Aalborg, Malmö, Warsaw, and Sussex. In 2018-19 he was Fulbright Distinguished Chair at the Australian National University in Canberra. He lives in New Orleans where he teaches at Tulane University but also calls Salt Lake City home. His personal interests are world literature and cinema, skiing, running, and border collies.


Additional Programming: June 21

2:00pm CST: My Foreign Service Journey


J. Nathan Bland

Tulane University

J. Nathan Bland is a career Foreign Service Officer with over sixteen years of experience in a wide variety of areas with the U.S. Department of State.  He is currently the Diplomat-in-Residence based at Tulane University in New Orleans, LA where he is responsible for recruiting the best and brightest candidates from diverse backgrounds within Louisiana, Mississippi, and Arkansas for U.S. Department of State career and student program opportunities.  His most recent assignment was as an Assistant General Services Officer at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City serving as the Embassy’s primary Contracting Officer and overseeing logistics for VIP visits.  Prior to that, he was the Political, Economic and International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) Section Chief at the U.S. Embassy in Belmopan, Belize.  He also served as the Acting Deputy Chief of Mission in at the U.S. Embassy in Belize for nearly a year.


Previous assignments include a tour at the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs where he led U.S. Government multilateral engagement on marine environmental protection issues in the Caribbean and ocean dumping.  He also served as the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy to the Holy See, and a Consular Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Shenyang, China.  He began his career with the U.S. Department of State as a Presidential Management Fellow working in the Public Affairs Office for the East Asia and Pacific Affairs Bureau in 2004. 


Nathan completed Executive Leadership Training from Harvard Business School as part of the Secretary’s Leadership Seminar.  Nathan graduated from Seton Hall University's School of Diplomacy and International Relations with an M.A. in Diplomacy and International Relations and an M.A. in Asian Studies.  He wrote his M.A. thesis on China’s efforts to stabilize the Xinjiang region drawing from his own experience living and working in the Xinjiang for 1½ years.  He holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Louisiana College, and also successfully completed the State Department’s Foreign Service Economic Studies course.



Email the Symposium's director, Max Weber, at
bottom of page