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Primary Source Celebrates 25 Years of Invaluable Scholar Relationships

12 May 2014

Scholar lectureAs we celebrate our 25th Anniversary year, the Global Conversations continue! We welcomed over 75 educators, donors, and supporters to Karoun Restaurant in Newtonville, Massachusetts, for a dinner lecture on the Middle East featuring Boston College Professor Peter Krause. An expert on Middle East politics and the effectiveness of nationalist movements, Krause engaged the audience with passion, insight, and humor regarding why revolutions succeed or fail in the Middle East, the reasoning behind U.S. intervention, and how our country might respond to the current situation in Syria.

Professor Krause put the Syrian conflict into perspective by noting that the number of casualties—some 150,00 in three years—exceeds all from the 66 year old Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He also noted that U.S. policymakers fall into two camps: those favoring deep engagement and those advocating restraint, and these positions do not always follow party lines. Thus, the Syrian conflict and U.S. response to it, is complex both here and abroad. "To be able to compartmentalize such an incredible amount of information, and present it which such clarity, was simply amazing," said Primary Source supporters Alex and Nada Jovanovic. "He was a tremendous speaker and we really enjoyed his presentation."

Krause acknowledged the challenges of teaching this kind of material and used his own experiences at Boston College as a point of reference, explaining that he likes to teach his college students to think critically about the news. He encourages them to ask what information is being left out and how cultures are being represented; clearly a model for how K-12 educators can address these topics in their own classrooms.

Because our mission at Primary Source is to provide educators with global programming that gives them as many opportunities as possible to strengthen their knowledge of world regions and cultures, we are thrilled that our Middle East dinner event gave guests a taste of just that. As Krause described in his closing, teachers need the time and support to explore topics and subjects that interest them, especially as it relates to their teaching. "To have a place like Primary Source where teachers can engage with scholars – that's invaluable," Krause said. "It develops deeper understanding and fosters growth among learners."

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