Please join us as we continue our exploration of all that is new and newsworthy in the Middle East. Through the modern miracle of Zoom, “Current Issues in the Middle East” will take participants “behind the scenes,” albeit remotely, with discussion and analyses of breaking stories in one of the most vitally important regions of the world. The instructor, a career professional, educator, and author, will highlight and examine, through the lens of history, both the headlines and the people behind the stories that dominate mainstream media coverage. In addition, she will introduce equally important, if underreported, information that is relevant to current developments in the Middle East. The objective of this timely series is to gain a deeper understanding of a variety of interrelated forces that affect the lives and destinies the inhabitants of this “crossroads of civilizations,” representing a mosaic of languages, religions, and cultures, in a region that boasts strategically-positioned land masses, critical waterways, and massive hydrocarbon reserves. While the international headlines of Spring 2021 will largely inform the choice of topics, it is anticipated that they will include the shifting trajectory of US foreign policy and alliances in the Middle East, the effects of the COVID19 pandemic on the societies and economies, continued tension in the Holy Land, ongoing wars in Syria and Yemen, political and economic collapse in Lebanon, the entrenchment of authoritarian regimes in Egypt and Turkey, and the high-stakes race for regional hegemony between Saudi Arabia and Iran.