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Old Well under a clear blue sky

The College of Arts and Sciences is announcing a series of events this spring hosted by several units across the College that seek to help our community — students, faculty and staff — broaden our understanding of the ongoing conflict in the Middle East and offer opportunities for dialogue to explore the many complex and interwoven issues involved.

Dialogue for Understanding: College Conversations in Difficult Times will tap our faculty’s deep expertise to provide context and insight on relevant topics such as antisemitism, Islamophobia, genocide, foreign policy and free speech. Importantly, the events in the series will also allow members of our community to participate in rich yet difficult conversations that foreground exchange, reflection and understanding across difference and among community.

Beyond the February panel discussion sponsored by the Program for Public Discourse, specifics for each event are still under development. This page will be updated as dates, speakers and other details become available. Please note that some of our departments, centers and institutes will be hosting or sponsoring additional relevant events beyond these. These include series by faculty, invited speaker events and workshops through the Center for Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies; the Carolina Center for Jewish Studies; the Center for European Studies; the Institute for the Arts and Humanities; and the departments of history, Asian and Middle Eastern Studies, and Germanic and Slavic languages and literatures, as well as others.


  • Feb. 21: The Politics of Israel and Palestine. Hosted by the Program for Public Discourse. UNC political science faculty members Jeff Spinner-Halev and Navin Bapat discuss the politics conflict between Israel and Palestine as part of the Abbey Speaker Series.
  • April 10, 12:30 p.m. Free Speech and Universities: What’s the Legal Perspective? Discussion by two UNC Law faculty: Mary-Rose Papandrea, Samuel Ashe Distinguished Professor of Constitutional Law, and William Marshall, Kenan Distinguished Professor of Law. Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office. Pleasants Family Assembly Room, Wilson Library.
  • April: Historical Insights on Key Concepts in the Competing Narratives on Israeli-Palestinian Conflict. Two events hosted by the department of history:
    • April 16, 6-7:15 p.m.: “Zionism, Israel, and the International Community: Gratitude and Betrayal.” Featuring Derek Penslar, William Lee Frost Professor of Jewish History at Harvard University. FedEx Global Education Center, Room 1005. In person and via Zoom. Registration is not required for in-person attendance; register here for Zoom webinar.
    • April 17, 5.30-7 p.m, “Reimagining Palestine: Palestinian People’s Experience of the 20th Century World Order.” Featuring Ussama Makdisi, professor of history and chancellor’s chair at the University of California Berkeley. FedEx Global Education Center, Room 1005. In person and via Zoom. Registration is not required for in-person attendance; register here for Zoom webinar.
  • April 18-26: Community Photovoice: Student Reflections on Campus Climate and the Middle East. Public exhibit of work in the Carolina Union Art Gallery by undergraduate students participating in the spring project. (Hosted by the College of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Office.)
  • April 24, 5:30-7:30 p.m. Faculty Community Conversation on Israel/Palestine. Hosted by the department of religious studies. In this event, four faculty panelists will share their personal and professional stories that highlight the complexities, history, politics and emotion of the present moment. Faculty attendees will have an opportunity to share their stories in small group dialogues modeled by the four panelists. (For faculty only; advance registration required. Register here.)