ISU Headlines

Frank Church Symposium on the theme ‘The Middle East’ runs March 3-5 at Idaho State University

Posted February 25, 2010

Idaho State University’s 39th annual Frank Church Symposium running March 3-5 will be on the theme "The Middle East," and will feature David Meyer delivering the keynote address "Terror, Nukes, Land, and Peace: U.S. Foreign Policy toward the Middle East in the Obama Administration."

Meyer will deliver his keynote address at 7:30 p.m. March 3 in the Pond Student Union Wood River Room. Meyer, who earned his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University, is currently associate professor of government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. In June, 2009, he was an Academic Fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy studying counter-terrorism at Tel Aviv University and throughout Israel and the West Bank. He has taught a variety of classes on political science, the politics of the Middle East and the history of Islam.

The International Affairs Council, an Idaho State University student organization funded by the Associated Students of ISU, is hosting the symposium. The symposium, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Pond Student Union. It runs from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. March 3, 9:15 a.m. to 4 p.m. March 4 and 9:15 a.m. to noon March 5.

This year's symposium includes lectures and panel discussions on various topics, including:

• The Joseph Hearst Memorial Lecture, given by Kay Hardy Campbell, entitled "Queen Effat"

• The Richard H. Foster Lecture, given by Thomas Mattair, entitled "Iran"

• Careers in International Affairs/Student Discussions with Delegations

• Panel discussions on Israel/Palestine, U.S. Involvement in the Middle East, Human Rights, Local Military, Iran and more.

For a complete schedule and more information on the symposium contact the ISU International Studies Office at 282-3043 or visit the International Affairs Council Web site at and the event's schedule is listed at!.html.


Here are biographies of the symposium's major speakers and guests: 

Dr. David Meyer

David J. Meyer has B.A. in Russian Area Studies from Drew University, M.A. in Political Science from Columbia University, M. Phil. in Political Science from Columbia University, Graduate Certificate of the Harriman Institute of Columbia University (equivalent to a M.A. in Russian Area Studies), Ph.D. in Political Science from Columbia University.

He has taught comparative politics and international relations as a Docent of Political Science at Saratov State University, Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Cedarville University, and Associate Professor of Political Science at George Fox University. He has also taught History and Politics of the Middle East and History of Islam.

He is currently Associate Professor of Government at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. In June, 2009, Dr. Meyer was an Academic Fellow of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracy’s, studying counter-terrorism at Tel Aviv University and throughout Israel and the West Bank.

Dr. Thomas Mattair

Dr. Mattair has taught at Kent State University, the University of Southern California, the University of California at Riverside, and Cornell University. He also served as the Director of Research at the Middle East Policy Council from 1992 to 1995. From 1997 until 2003 he was a research scholar at the Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research, where he researched and wrote The Three Occupied UAE Islands: The Tunbs and Abu Musa. The book is a study that examines, among other topics, Iranian military capabilities and intentions in the Gulf. His most recent book, Global Security Watch–Iran: A Reference Handbook, published by Praeger Security International in June 2008, is a comprehensive study of Iran’s foreign relations and the prospects for war or peace with Iran.

He has published and lectured widely in the U.S. and the Middle East and serves as a consultant to governments and business firms on security and economic issues in the Gulf. He is an honors graduate of Harvard and holds a Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley. He is a past recipient of Harvard Law School’s Mark de Wolfe Howe Fellowship, the Ambassador Rodger Davies Memorial Fellowship, and fellowships from the Earhart Foundation.

Dr. Mike Findley

Mike Findley is an assistant professor in the Political Science Department. He received his bachelor's (Summa Cum Laude) and master’s degrees in 2000 and 2002 from Utah State University, and his PhD in Political Science in 2007 from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. His research examines civil wars, terrorism, and other forms of political violence.

Mike is the recipient of various fellowships and awards including: a Peace Scholar Fellowship at the United States Institute of Peace, the University of Illinois Scott Dissertation Fellowship, the Rita and Leonard Ogren Award, the Arms Control, Disarmament, and International Security Graduate Fellowship, and the Charles Merriam Fellowship at the University of Illinois. He has published articles in the Journal of Politics, International Studies Quarterly, Civil Wars, and Complexity on the topics of third-party military interventions into civil wars as well as the resolution of civil wars.

Dr. Gawdat Bahgat

Gawdat Bahgat is Professor at the Near East South Asia Center for Strategic Studies, National Defense University. He is the author of The Gulf Monarchies: New Economic and Political Realities (London: The Research Institute for the Study of Conflict and Terrorism, 1997); The Future of the Gulf (Washington, DC: Scott-Townsend Publishers, 1997); The Persian Gulf at the Dawn of the New Millennium (New York: NOVA Science Publishers, 1999) American Oil Diplomacy in the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2003), Israel and the Persian Gulf: Retrospect and Prospect (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida in 2006), and Nuclear Proliferation in the Middle East (Gainesville, FL: University Press of Florida, 2007).

In addition, he has published about 200 articles on the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea in scholarly journals. His work has been translated to several foreign languages. Bahgat’s main areas of expertise include energy security, proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, terrorism, and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East and Central Asia. Currently he is working on two books, one on energy security and the other on sovereign wealth funds.

 Dr. Robert Saldin

Robert Saldin is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Montana. Prior to arriving in Missoula, he was the Patrick Henry Postdoctoral Fellow at Johns Hopkins University and a Visiting Scholar at the University of California, Berkeley. Saldin’s book, War, the American State, and Politics Since 1898, is being published by Cambridge University Press later this year. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in the Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, and Presidential Studies Quarterly, among others. Saldin is also a frequent contributor to the popular press.

Dr. Stephen Zunes

Dr. Stephen Zunes is a Professor of Politics and International Studies at the University of San Francisco, where he chairs the program in Middle Eastern Studies. He serves as a senior analyst for the Foreign Policy in Focus project of the Institute for Policy Studies and chair of the academic advisory committee for the International Center on Nonviolent Conflict.

He is the author of scores of articles for scholarly and general readership on Middle Eastern politics, U.S. foreign policy, international terrorism, nuclear nonproliferation, strategic nonviolent action, and human rights. He is the principal editor of Nonviolent Social Movements (Blackwell Publishers, 1999), the author of Tinderbox: U.S. Middle East Policy and the Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003) and co-author (with Jacob Mundy) of the forthcoming Western Sahara: Nationalism, Conflict, and International Accountability (Syracuse University Press.)

Dr. John Williams

John Williams is a 1988 graduate of the Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. He holds a Masters of Arts degree from the Naval Postgraduate School in National Security Affairs and in 2005 was a Fellow with the MIT Seminar XXI program. Through his twenty year career as a U.S. Marine, John served as an infantry officer, an intelligence officer and as a Foreign Area Officer, and spent considerable time in the Pacific Rim and the Middle East. His operational tours include service in Operations Desert Shield/Desert Storm, the 2006 non-combatant evacuation of US citizens from Lebanon, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.

His last position on active duty was as the Associate Chair of the Political Science Department at the U.S. Naval Academy where he also taught courses on American Government and Irregular Warfare. Since January 2009 John has been the Deputy Director of the Center for Middle East and Islamic Studies at the U.S. Naval Academy where he continues to research and study contemporary conflict and to teach in the Political Science Department and the Leadership, Ethics and Law Department.

Dr. Robert Lloyd

Dr. Robert Lloyd is an Associate Professor of International Relations at Pepperdine University and head of its International Studies Program. He received his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies in Washington, DC. He has published numerous scholarly articles on international conflict negotiation and management, democratization, and Africa. His most recent work “The Caprivi Strip of Namibia: Shifting Sovereignty and the Negotiation of Boundaries,” was published recently in an edited volume entitled Borderlines and Borderlands: Political Oddities at the Edge of the Nation-State. Dr. Lloyd is a frequent contributor on governance issues in Zimbabwe and Mozambique for Freedom House’s Countries at the Crossroads project. He is also a 2009-10 Academic Fellow with the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Combining his research interests with field experience, Dr. Lloyd was an election observer for the U.S. State Department during Mozambique’s first multiparty elections in 1994, for the International Republican Institute in Nigeria’s 2003 and 2007 presidential elections, and Liberia’s presidential election in 2005.

Prior to Pepperdine, Dr. Lloyd worked for five years in Kenya, South Africa, and Mozambique with SIL International, an educational and linguistic nongovernmental organization. In Mozambique he was country director for SIL during that country’s civil war. While in Washington, DC, he represented SIL at the United Nations in New York and Europe, obtaining high-level consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council.

Dr. Robert Barnidge

Dr. Barnidge joined the School of Law in 2007. His doctoral research explored issues related to non-state actors, state responsibility, and the due diligence principle in the context of the fight against terrorism. Dr. Barnidge has participated in the Hague Academy of International Law both as a student in the public international law course (2005) and as a participant in the Centre for Studies and Research in International Law and International Relations (2006). He has been the Book Review Editor of the Irish Yearbook of International Law and an Articles and Notes Editor of the North Carolina Journal of Law and Technology for a year each. He has been a visiting lecturer at the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya, Israel (2008) and Uppsala University (2009) and participated in a ten day "Defending Democracy Defeating Terrorism" academic fellowship in Israel in June 2009 awarded by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Dr Barnidge is the Principal Investigator for a British Academy UK-South Asia Partnership grant studying “India, the 123 Agreement, and Nuclear Energy: Issues of International Law” as part of a team of legal scholars at Reading and the Tamil Nadu Dr. Ambedkar Law University, Chennai, and has been awarded a Leverhulme Trust grant to study "The Liberal Way of War: Strategy, Ideology, Representations" as part of an interdisciplinary team at Reading.

Dr. Jennifer Jefferis

Jennifer has a PhD in Political Science from Boston University where she specialized in social movements and Middle Eastern Politics. Author of the book "Religion and Political Violence: Sacred Protest in the Modern World," Jennifer has travelled extensively in the Middle East.

She lived for a time in Egypt while studying at the Arabic Language Institute and in summer 2009, she studied terrorism in Israel through a fellowship awarded by the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. She is an assistant professor of Government at Regent University, where she teaches a variety of courses on Middle Eastern politics.

Dr. Stephen Sloan

Stephen Sloan is the Lawrence J. Chastang Distinguished Professor of Terrorism Studies in the Office of Global Perspectives at the University of Central Florida. He is also a Professor Emeritus at the University of Oklahoma. Dr. Sloan is a pioneer in research and teaching on terrorism since the 1970’s He also developed the simulation technique to counter terrorism and his book Simulating Terrorism has been used to conduct exercises internationally. In addition he has also planned and directed numerous exercises for police, security and military forces in the US and overseas.

Professor Sloan consults on doctrine, strategy and policies associated with combating terrorism. He also specializes in counter insurgency and peacekeeping operations. In addition he has been a Senior Fellow at the Center for Aerospace Doctrine and Research (CADRE) of the Air University and a member of the first session of the Program on Terrorism and Security at The George J. Marshall European Security Center for Security Studies. Her also headed a Counterterrorism Practice in Washington.

Dr. Sloan is the author of 14 books and numerous articles. Two of his latest are: Terrorism: The Present Threat in Context and Sean K. Anderson with Stephen Sloan, Historical Dictionary of Terrorism, Third Edition. He is Senior Fellow of the Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism and on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Joint Special Operations University. Professor Sloan is also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the ASIS Council on Global Terrorism, Political Instability and International Crime.

Dr. Patrick Clawson

Patrick Clawson is Deputy Director for Research of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy. He has written or edited twenty-eight books and monographs, mostly about Middle Eastern politics, especially Iran. The most recent is Much Traction from Measured Steps: The Iranian Opposition, the Nuclear Issue, and the West (The Washington Institute for Near East Policy, 2010).

Dr. Clawson appears frequently on television and radio, and has published op-ed articles in major newspapers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post. He has also testified before congressional committees more than twenty times and has served as an expert witness in more than a dozen federal cases. His previous positions include senior economist at the National Defense University, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund. He is senior editor of Middle East Quarterly. He speaks Persian (Farsi) and French.

Dr. Kay Hardy Campbell

A former resident of Saudi Arabia now living near Boston, Kay is a freelance writer and a regular contributor to Saudi Aramco World Magazine. She strives to give readers new perspectives on the Middle East, and likes to explore touch-points where cultures interact.

She has a B.A. in Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies from the University of Minnesota, a Master’s Degree from Harvard University in Middle East Area Studies, and an MBA from Northeastern University. She co-founded and helps direct the Arabic Music Retreat at Mount Holyoke College.