12:15 pm12:15

'Events Are Continuous': 'Cast Lead' as Nakba Revisited

Even in the context of what Edward Said once called the Palestinian 'national inferno,' the 22-day war on the Gaza Strip in 2008-09 that Israel dubbed 'Cast Lead' produced arguably the most acute distillation of Palestinian existential vulnerability, collective and individual, since the Palestinian nakba (catastrophe, of dispossession in 1948.) This paper examines particular difficulties in Gazan narration of the war as a discrete event.

MIRAL: Discussion with Director Julian Schnabel & Novelist Rula Jebreal
8:00 pm20:00

MIRAL: Discussion with Director Julian Schnabel & Novelist Rula Jebreal



From Academy Award nominated director Julian Schnabel and based on the autobiographical novel of Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal, Miral tells the story of three generations of Palestinian women as they navigate the complexities of life after the creation of the state of Israel. Shot in Jerusalem, the film charts decades of history, from the onset of Israel's occupation to the start of the "peace process".

Miral provides an unprecedented lens on Palestinian stories as told through Palestinian voices and experiences.

Schnabel and Jebreal will discuss the political, historical, and artistic context of the movie, including the difficulties of making a movie about Palestine for the mainstream American audience.


Moderated by Professors:

HAMID DABASHI, Professor of Iranian Studies & Comparative Literature, Columbia University

HELGA TAWIL-SOURI, Professor of Media, Culture, & Communication, NYU


Seating is on a first-come, first-serve basis.


The Middle East Institute

Columbia Film School, Carla Kuhn Series

417 Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building, Columbia University
420 West 118th Street, NY, NY 10027

7:00 pm19:00




Marcel Khalife will deliver a speech to pay tribute to the life and works of Mahmoud Darwish. In addition, he will perform a couple of his own compositions. Preceding Khalife's discussion, there will be Arabic and English readings of Darwish's poetry by OMAR KHALIFAH & TALA HADID.

Mahmoud Darwish was born on March 13, 1941 in Al Birweh, Palestine. Recognized as the Palestinian national poet and an icon, Darwish?s work embodies the Palestinian cause from the nakba until his passing in 2008. 

His earliest poetry used imagery that could relate intimately to Palestinian villagers. He wrote of olive groves and orchards, the rocks and plants, basil and thyme. In spite of an apparent simplicity, his short poems have several levels of meaning and express an array of emotions from anger, outrage and injustice to irony and a universal humanity. For Darwish the issue of Palestine became a prism for an internationalist feeling. His work embodies the Palestinian plight and also celebrated the beauty of Palestinian culture and identity.


Marcel Khalife is a distinguished composer, singer, and oud player that is best known for liberating the oud, an instrument integral to Arabic culture, from its traditionally strict techniques, expanding its musical possibilities, and contributing to its artistic and cultural revival. Over the decades, Khalife?s music and his own compositions have signified peace, reconciliation and breaking boundaries. He uses musical influences from both Christian and Muslim traditions to create a sound that is always innovative, inspiring, and beautiful. Many of his recordings utilize traditional instruments mixed with western mainstays depicting a sophisticated musical marriage of classical Arabic and jazz music. As a composer, he demonstrates a deep attachment to and a profound understanding of the power of the written word. Khalife has distinguished himself not only as a virtuosic oud player but also as a talented composer.

Khalife's educational and humanitarian contributions are as numerous as his creative endeavors. A tireless promoter of the arts and culture in the Arab world, he has been the recipient of many prominent awards and has performed in the most prestigious music venues in the world. In his quest to renew the vibrancy and significance of the Arabic song, he has based songs on the words of some of the great contemporary Arab poets, particularly the Palestinian poet and journalist who eloquently wrote of the exile, struggles, and hopes of the Palestinian people, Mahmoud Darwish.

Mahmoud Darwish is the Essential Breath of the Palestinian people, the eloquent witness of exile and belonging, exquisitely tuned singer of images that invoke, link, and shine a brilliant light into the world’s whole heart. What he speaks has been embraced by readers around the world?his in an utterly necessary voice, unforgettable once discovered.
— Naomi Shihab Nye


The Middle East Institute

Room 417, Altschul Auditorium, International Affairs Building
1190 Amsterdam Avenue (enter gates on 116th and Broadway), New York, Ny 10027

12:10 pm12:10

Housing, Land, & Property Rights in East Jerusalem & the West Bank

Antonia Mulvey of the Norwegian Refugee Council in discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum

The Human Rights Institute at Columbia Law invites you to a lunch time discussion with Professor Peter Rosenblum and Antonia Mulvey. Antonia is a British lawyer with extensive experience in criminal, human rights and refugee law. Currently, she is the international legal expert for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) based in New York. In March 2009, she established the first legal program for the NRC in East Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza. The program focuses on representing Palestinians on housing, land and property cases within the Israeli legal system and it is currently the only international organization undertaking cases of this nature.

6:00 pm18:00

Faith Misplaced: The Broken Promise of U.S-Arab Relations: 1820-2001

Ussama Makdisi, Rice University, is Arab American Educational Foundation Professor of History at Rice University. In April 2009 the Carnegie Corporation named Makdisi a 2009 Carnegie Scholar for his contributions to enriching the country's discourse on Islam. His previous book, Artillery of Heaven, won the 2009 John Hope Franklin Prize.

In this riveting account of U.S.-Arab relations, award-winning author Ussama Makdisi explores why Arabs once had a favorable view of America and why they no longer do. Firmly rejecting the spurious notion of a civilizational clash between Islam and the West, Makdisi instead demonstrates how an initial zealous American missionary crusade was transformed across the nineteenth-century into a leading American educational presence in the Arab world...

12:30 pm12:30

Someone please call 911 - Israel's failure to protect Palestinians and their property

Neta Patrick is an Israeli human rights lawyer who worked as the coordinator of the "rule of law" project in the Israeli human rights organization Yesh Din. Yesh Din [Hebrew for - there is law] is a human rights organization working to achieve a long-term structural improvement in the human rights situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

Since it was publicly announced two years ago, a declared policy called Price Tag is threatening Palestinian life and property in the Occupied West Bank. The policy, led by the extremist settler movement, is aimed to deter Israel's policy makers from evacuating illegal outposts by collecting a "price tag" of vandalism on Palestinian property for every such action. Thus, the mere talk of a settlement freeze results in cutting down olive trees, throwing stones and even setting fire to mosques.