An array of renowned scholars from around the world gathered to discuss American government policies at an international conference entitled "American Government Conference--US Policy from Presidential Elections to Shifting Paradigms in the Middle East," today, October 9, at The Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi Center for Gulf Studies (Al Darah), University City, Sharjah. The day-long event was inaugurated by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qassimi, Supreme Council Member, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of American University of Sharjah), who also visited an exhibition of his highness rare collections held as part of the conference.
Academics and experts from the United States, Europe and the Middle East discussed how US President Barack Obama's policies have impacted the Middle East. Discussions throughout the conference focused on a number of significant issues including how the Obama administration has guided or reacted to major events; whether Obama's quiet "lead from behind" strategy has advanced broad changes that were already afoot; and whether President Obama's policies hinder initiatives or actually catalyze events.
Speaking at the opening session, Dr. Peter Heath, Chancellor of AUS, welcomed all the delegates on behalf of the Ruler of Sharjah. "It gives me great pleasure to welcome our distinguished roster of scholars in political science and related fields, faculty from universities across the Gulf, prominent members of the community, and AUS alumni and students," he said. "While President Obama serves as President of the United States half a world away, our conference perspective is from the Middle East. The question becomes, is the Middle East experiencing paradigm change that reflects the shift in US policy orientation from the Bush administration to President Obama's? In other words, has our cultural lens for perceiving or ordering our world changed sufficiently?" he asked.
"In this context, we examine today how the Middle East relates to the shifts from President George Bush's to President Barack Obama's policies. Perhaps when sufficient 'historical-distance' accumulates, the measure of paradigm change will come more sharply into focus. The stellar schedule of speakers present among us will provide insight on this key question, for they rank among the leaders in their disciplines," said Chancellor Heath.