“Current Issues in the Middle East,” one of the most popular courses in the long-running Middle East Studies program at ILR, examines the stories behind the headlines from one of the most dynamic areas of the world. Each week, the instructor, a career specialist in the history and culture of the Middle East and Islam, will present and analyze breaking news, framing issues in a historical context, identifying key players, exploring the tangled web of interrelationships, and analyzing the impact of current events on the peoples and governments of both the region and the world. This fall, the range of subjects to be discussed is broad and far-reaching. While weekly topics for discussion will be driven by breaking news, we will begin our analysis of current issues in the Middle East with a retrospective survey of pivotal moments that have shaped regional dynamics during the past fifty years. The trajectory of US foreign policy, particularly under the new administration, will be explored as will a host of timely subjects as they unfold, including the collapse of the Lebanese state, the ongoing Israel-Palestine conflict, escalating tensions between nations over access to water, the entrenchment of authoritarian regimes and erosion of civil rights in Egypt, Turkey, Iran, and Syria, Yemen’s efforts to rebuild, and the effects of the COVID19 pandemic on the peoples and economies of the Middle East. All are welcome, both the veterans of this class as well as the uninitiated. The only prerequisites are an interest in international affairs, foreign policy, and, above all, curiosity. Through lectures, selected reading, films, guest speakers, and group discussion, it is expected that after taking this course, participants will be better equipped to understand and address, with a greater level of confidence, some of the most compelling issues of our time.