Leading scholars to discuss state of political Islam at Rice’s Baker Institute Nov. 4


David Ruth

Jeff Falk

Leading scholars to discuss state of political Islam at Rice’s Baker Institute Nov. 4

HOUSTON – (Oct. 29, 2015) – Three prominent scholars will explore the state and challenges of political Islam post-Arab Spring at a Nov. 4 forum at Rice University’s Baker Institute for Public Policy.

Hosted by the Baker Institute’s Center for the Middle East, the event is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Who: Speakers Nathan Brown, professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs; Jillian Schwedler, professor of political science at City University of New York’s Hunter College; and Fevzi Bilgin, president of the Rethink Institute.

Baker Institute Director Edward Djerejian will give welcoming remarks. Kadir Yildirim, research scholar at the Center for the Middle East, will serve as moderator.

What: A forum titled “Whither Political Islam? The Muslim Brotherhood and the AKP, Post-Arab Spring.”

When: Wednesday, Nov. 4, 6-8 p.m.

Where: Rice University, Baker Hall, Kelly International Conference Facility, 6100 Main St.

Since 2010, much has changed for Islamists in the Middle East, according to event organizers. Islamist parties gained prominence and major government roles in countries such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco. It appeared that Islamists’ time had come; however, the tides have shifted in recent years. Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (abbreviated AKP in Turkish), once considered a model of Islamist democracy, has become more authoritarian under the presidency of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Meanwhile, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood’s decline, which began with the 2013 coup, continues toward radicalization and violence. What are the ideological, political and economic factors underlying these trends? How has the Arab Spring shaped the dynamics of Islamist politics in the region? What are the implications for U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East? At the event, Brown, Schwedler and Bilgin will explore these and other questions about the state of political Islam and the challenges that lie ahead.

Members of the news media who want to attend should RSVP to Jeff Falk, associate director of national media relations at Rice, at jfalk@rice.edu or 713-348-6775.

The public must register to attend this event at http://bakerinstitute.org/events/1746. A live webcast will be available at the registration page.

For a map of Rice University’s campus with parking information, go to www.rice.edu/maps. Media are advised to park in the Central Campus Garage.


Follow the Baker Institute via Twitter @BakerInsitute.

Follow Rice News and Media Relations via Twitter @RiceUNews.

Founded in 1993, Rice University’s Baker Institute ranks among the top 10 university-affiliated think tanks in the world. As a premier nonpartisan think tank, the institute conducts research on domestic and foreign policy issues with the goal of bridging the gap between the theory and practice of public policy. The institute’s strong track record of achievement reflects the work of its endowed fellows, Rice University faculty scholars and staff, coupled with its outreach to the Rice student body through fellow-taught classes — including a public policy course — and student leadership and internship programs. Learn more about the institute at www.bakerinstitute.org or on the institute’s blog, http://blogs.chron.com/bakerblog.

About Jeff Falk

Jeff Falk is associate director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.