Welcome to the Florida Society for Middle East Studies

The mission of FSMES is to foster a better understanding of all matters related to the region among our members. We focus on the historical, political, economic, cultural and social issues of the region and do this through a continuing series of lectures by experts from academia, think tanks and government. The sessions encourage both audience participation and a frank exchange of ideas on every facet of life in the Middle East.

FSMES is not religion-focused, not Israel- focused and does not espouse a political agenda. We are the largest such community-based organization in America.


2019-20 Presenters

The Weaponization of Religion in the Middle East
Dr. Khaleel Mohammed – 11/16/19 – 2pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Professor Mohammed came to SDSU in 2003 after having completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Brandeis University. He obtained his Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal, Canada, specializing in Islamic law. He also studied Islamic law at the Muhammad bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Professor Mohammed has provided expert testimony in several terrorism cases, and has published several journal articles in the area of his expertise. In 2005, he published Coming to terms with the Qur'an, a co-authored work with Professor Andrew Rippin of University of Victoria, Canada. His most recent book is David in the Islamic Tradition, published by Lexington Press. Professor Mohammed is also a core faculty member of the Center for Islamic and Arabic Studies, and associate faculty in the university's LGBTQ program.Learn More

Lebanon: Its Origins, Changing Ethos, and Challenges
Dr. Robert Rabil – 12/14/19 – 2 pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Dr. Rabil received his Bachelor of Arts in Computer Science from Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, his Masters in Government from Harvard University Extension School and his Ph.D. in Near Eastern and Judaic Studies from Brandeis University. His area of research includes Political Islam, Terrorism, Transnational and Revivalist Movements, U.S.-Arab Relations, Arab-Israeli Conflict, Reform in the Arab world, and Contemporary Middle Eastern and Southeastern Politics.Learn More

The Russian Bear Stalks the Middle East
Dr. Stephen Berk – 1/11/20, 2pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Dr. Berk is the Henry and Sally Schaffer Professor of Holocaust and Jewish studies at Union College in Schenectady, New York. He is the former Chair of the Department of History, Director of the Program in Russia and East European Studies and helps advise the Hillel organization at Union. Professor Berk is considered an absolutely superb lecturer and teacher. His lectures are outstanding and he is in high demand as a guest speaker. He is always informative, interesting and entertaining. He is widely known for his expertise on the Holocaust, Russia, the Middle East and a variety of Jewish subjects. Learn More

Cyberwar: War by Other Means
Van Hipp, J.D. – 1/25/20 – 2pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Van Hipp is Chairman of American Defense International, Inc. (ADI), a Washington, DC based consulting firm specializing in government affairs, business development and public relations. He’s a former Chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, as well as a former member of the Presidential Electoral College. In 1990, he was sworn in as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Army (Reserve Forces and Mobilization). In this capacity, he served as the Army Secretariat's "point man" for the successful mobilization, and then demobilization, of the Army's reserve forces for Operation Desert Shield/Storm.Learn More

A Land, a Nation, a Myth, Two Peoples
Dr. Ralph Nurnberger – 2/8/20 – 2 pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Dr. Ralph Nurnberger is a widely acclaimed speaker who brings humor, current political insights and historical background to his presentations. In addition to speaking nationally, Dr. Nurnberger has appeared on radio and television programs as an analyst on political and international issues, and has spoken on a number of international cruises. Dr. Nurnberger taught at Georgetown University for 38 years. He was named Professor of the Year by the Graduate School of Liberal Studies in 2003 and received another award in 2005 for over 20 years of excellence in teaching. He currently teaches at Florida Atlantic University.Learn More

Hidden Ingredients in the Mideast’s Toxic Stew
Dr. Shoshana Bryen – 2/29/20 – 2 pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Shoshana Bryen is a leading specialist in U.S. defense policy and Middle East affairs. The former Executive Director and SeniorDirector for Security Policy at JINSA, Mrs. Bryen was author of the widely republished JINSA Reports. She has worked with the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College and the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, and lectured at the National Defense University in Washington.Learn More

Jordan: Peace, Partner or Obstacle – a King’s Dilemma
Jonathan Schanzer – 3/21/20 – 2pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Dr. Jonathan Schanzer is senior vice president for research at FDD, where he oversees the work of the organization’s experts and scholars. He is also on the leadership team of FDD’s Center on Economic and Financial Power, a project on the use of financial and economic power as a tool of statecraft. Jonathan previously worked as a terrorism finance analyst at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, where he played an integral role in the designation of numerous terrorist financiers. He has held previous think tank research positions at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and the Middle East Forum.Learn More

Summing it all Up
Dr. Mehmet Gurses – 4/4/20 – 2 pm
FAU Friedberg Auditorium

Dr. Mehmet Gurses is an associate professor of Political Science at Florida Atlantic University. His research interests include ethnic and religious conflict, post-civil war peace building, post-civil war democratization, Kurdish politics, and the emergence and evolution of the Islamist parties in the Middle East.Learn More