Parents hear Yaron discuss Middle East

By Jordan Freisleben

American foreign policy in the Middle East since the 19th century was the crux of a two-part lecture series given by history teacher Dror Yaron for parents completed on Monday.

The series of lectures started as a fundraiser organized by the Parents Association, the proceeds of which benefitted financial aid.

Admission to the lectures was, for the most part, done via online auction.

The first part of Yaron’s lecture was held on Monday Sept. 13.

In the first part of the series, Yaron focused primarily on the broad history of the United States and the Middle East starting with the Barbary Wars between the U.S. and Muslim North Africans in the 19th century.

The second part, held this past Monday, traced more recent involvement in the Middle East.

“[It’s] a historical narrative of the U.S. involvement in the dynamics of the region from Franklin Roosevelt all the way to George Bush’s administration, and then peeking into the Obama administration and how it’s handling the Middle East discussing the issues that confront US policy today,” Yaron said.

Yaron said that he also highlighted the complexity and problems that plague the Middle East.

Yaron had another lecture last November that traced the making of the modern Middle East.

“Last year, it was looking at the secret agreements between the French and the British during World War I –the Balfour Declaration, the League of Nations, and mandates – in the Middle East, taking it from a European perspective and how that has shaped the modern nation,” he said.

For this year’s series, Yaron thought having the United State’s involvement as a focal point would be of greater interest to parents.

“I thought because it’s a vital interest region for the U.S.,” he said. “I would say it’s just proportionally important for the American foreign policy security and economic security in the world today. I think that [policies in the Middle East are] the greatest challenges, regardless of which party dominates in Congress.”

“My first lecture fell on Sept. 13 which was two days after 9/11 and that’s nine years since the event,” he said. “I think Americans wanted the government to take a role in shaping and being shaped and trying to redefine the region in its own likeness and for the benefit of the Middle Easterners. I think the U.S. often gets a bad rep in terms of engendering many of the present day conflicts and creating many unnecessary problems for the people [in the Middle East], and I wanted to somehow put that into a broader, more subtle context.”