The City College of New York

The series of lectures, conversations, film showings, exhibitions, and courses brings together faculty, students, and staff at CCNY and the New York City community to examine human rights through multiple lenses.


Wednesday, February 5, 2014
6:30 p.m. 
The Graduate Center of the City University of New York
365 Fifth Avenue (at 34th Street) New York, NY 10016
Rooms C201-202

SUBWAYS: 6 to 33rd Street; B, D, F, or M to 34th Street/Herald Square

"Uprisings and Aftermath: Human Rights in Syria, Libya, and Egypt, a View from the Ground," with Sarah Leah Whitson, executive director, Middle East and North Africa division, Human Rights Watch, in conversation with Jillian Schwedler, professor of political science at Hunter and the Graduate Center (CUNY).

The uprisings in six countries in the Arab world generated tremendous optimism about a future for the Middle East that would include democratically elected governments committed to respecting the human rights of their citizens. Now, three years after the 'Arab Spring' began, the situation looks dire, with the region still gripped by chaos and civil wars. Reporting back from her most recent trip to Egypt, Libya, and Syria in November 2013, Whitson will assess the human rights climate in each of these countries, and reflect on the immediate outcome of their revolutions.


Sarah Leah Whitson, director of Human Rights Watch's Middle East and North Africa Division, is a general expert on Middle East and North Africa issues. She has led landmark investigations of human rights conditions in Libya and Saudi Arabia and numerous advocacy missions in the region, and overseen over 20 research missions and edited the resulting reports. She has published articles on the Middle East in international and regional publications. Prior to her work at Human Rights Watch, she conducted several human rights missions in the region, including missions examining the impact of war and sanctions on the Iraqi civilian population, elections in Kurdish-controlled northern Iraq, and human rights issues in southern Lebanon. Before joining Human Rights Watch, Whitson worked as an attorney in New York for Goldman, Sachs & Co. and Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton. She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Harvard Law School. Whitson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.


Jillian Schwedler is Professor of Political Science at Hunter and the Graduate Center (CUNY). She specializes on Middle Eastern Politics and Political Islam. Dr. Schwedler was formerly the Chair of the Board of Directors (2001-2009) and member of the Editorial Committee (1995-2001) of the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP). Her most recent articles are: “Islamists in Power? Inclusion, Moderation, and the Arab Uprisings?” Middle East Development Journal 5, no. 1 (April 2013) and “The Political Geography of Protest in Neoliberal Jordan?” Middle East Critique 21, no. 3 (December 2012). Her books include Policing and Prisons in the Middle East: Formations of Coercion with Laleh Khalili; Understanding the Contemporary Middle East with Deborah J. Gerner and Faith in Moderation: Islamist Parties in Jordan and Yemen.

Director Beth Baron and Associate Director Anny Bakalian, Middle East and Middle Eastern American Center (MEMEAC) and Master’s Program in Middle Eastern Studies at the Graduate Center, City University of New York.

Back to Past Events

160 Convent Avenue, New York, NY 10031 - P: 212.650.7000
© The City College of New York - All rights reserved