Forum focuses on civil war, impact of the Arab Spring movement in Syria

February 27, 2015

Speaker Hudson Photo - 2-6-15Lisle, Illinois ~ A series of protests in Tunisia that began in December 2010 set off a wave of similar uprising across the Middle East. This period of violent and non-violent revolutions, often called the Arab Spring, contributed to the unrest impacting the region today, such as the civil war in Syria and rise of the extremist Islamic State.

The use of social media has played a major role in the evolution of the current conflict, inspiring militants in other areas of the world to join the ranks of the radical group which controls a third of Iraq and Syria in its self-proclaimed caliphate.

An analysis of the various factors that led to this crisis will be discussed at the next Global Studies Forum at Benedictine University, “Syria: Anatomy of a Perfect Storm,” at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, March 12 in the Presentation Room of the Krasa Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The featured speaker is Leila Hudson, Ph.D., associate professor of Modern Middle East Culture and Political Economy and associate director of the School of Middle Eastern and North African Studies at the University of Arizona.

Hudson is the author of “Transforming Damascus: Space and Modernity in an Islamic City” and “Middle Eastern Humanities: An Introduction to Middle Eastern Cultures,” and co-editor of “Media Evolution on the Eve of the Arab Spring.”

She has also contributed articles on gender, culture and power in the Ottoman and contemporary Middle East that have appeared in the Journal of Islamic Studies, Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, Critique: Critical Middle Eastern Studies, Middle East Policy, Al-Jazeera English, Al-Jazeera America and The Huffington Post.

The Global Studies major at Benedictine combines the University’s unique inquiry-based curriculum sequence with courses from a number of disciplines to provide students with an understanding of the forces that are shaping their world.

The Global Studies forum brings outstanding speakers to campus to analyze current world events with faculty and students in a systematic and interdisciplinary way.

For more information about the Global Studies Forum, contact Lynn Dransoff at (630) 829-6250 or


Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has a branch campus in Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls more than 5,000 students in undergraduate and graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the eighth consecutive year in 2018. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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