Benedictine forum explores survival, resiliency in face of Syrian revolution

September 13, 2016

Lisle, Illinois ~ More than 250,000 Syrians have lost their lives since anti-government protests escalated into a full-scale civil war five years ago. More than 11 million others have been forced from their homes.

Yet despite this upheaval, the revolution has sparked one of the most creative periods in Syrian history. The revolutionary arts that emerged out of the demonstrations against the Bashar al-Assad regime are unprecedented in their quantity and quality.

miriam cooke, Ph.D., D.Phil., the Braxton Craven Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University, will explore this phenomenon when she presents "Creativity, Resilience and the Syrian Revolution" at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, September 29, in Goodwin Hall, Room 321, on the campus of Benedictine University.

A graduate of Oxford University, cooke has focused on the intersection of gender and war in modern Arabic literature and on Arab women writers' constructions of Islamic feminism. She is the author of several monographs, edited volumes and a novel, and has been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, Qatar, Dartmouth College and the Alliance of Civilizations Institute in Istanbul, Turkey.

She also serves on advisory boards for institutions and academic journals and is the current editor of the Journal for Middle East Women's Studies.

The lecture will focus on the Syrian people's resiliency and creativity in the face of the humanitarian crisis resulting from the country's revolution and civil war. Graffiti, posters, films, YouTube videos, cartoons, fine art, digital art, novels, short stories, poems and songs all weave the tapestry of a defiant revolution and civil war that has displaced millions of Syrians.

The lecture is free and open to the public.

The forum is sponsored by Benedictine's Global Studies program and an Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language grant from the U.S. Department of Education.

The Global Studies Forum brings outstanding speakers to campus to analyze current world events with faculty and students in a systematic and interdisciplinary way, and is sponsored by the Global Studies major, the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies, and the College of Liberal Arts at Benedictine.

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 branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. A 2016 PayScale Inc. report ranked BenU one of the top 10 colleges in Illinois for return on investment and in the top 20 percent nationally. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission ( For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, or visit

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