Panel discussion to teach students about religion

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    After the recent political uprisings in Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain and Yemen put the spotlight back in the Middle East, students now have the opportunity to attend a panel to discuss and learn more about the region.

    The departments of political science, history, international studies and the AddRan College of Liberal Arts worked to organize Wednesday’s panel, which will include three political science professors with different areas of specialty.

    Students will be able to ask questions and become more aware of the current issues in the global community.

    Michael Dodson, one of the three political science professors who will be speaking, will be one of the panelists and said the discussion will begin with three short presentations. Manochehr Dorraj will provide a background of the area and situations to give the audience a way to understand the uprisings. Ralph Carter will explain the implications of the uprisings on U.S. foreign policy. Dodson will explain the challenge countries face as they try to convert to democracies.

    Dodson said he hopes the event will give students an opportunity to enter a thought-provoking discussion about what the uprisings truly mean and what the future may hold for the region and the people who live there. He said the presentations will be short and will be followed by a long question and answer session to allow for student participation.

    “Most people in the United States, including university students, don’t have very much knowledge of the Middle East and are only newly aware of some of the details,” Dodson said. “This is an opportunity for students to use the university resources and become aware.”

    Dorraj said he wanted to take students beyond the headlines they read in the news. The goal of the panel is to provide an analysis that allows students to participate, he said.

    “Students see this happened and that happened,” he said. “But we are going to explain why these uprisings are happening and why now.”

    Katie Horton, a sophomore supply chain management major, said she planned to attend the panel in order to learn more about what is happening in the Middle East. She said the panel is going to be an easy way to catch up on the information she has missed.

    Dodson said the event was planned before the most recent military actions in Libya occurred, but said he felt it would come up in the discussion.

    According to an article from Bloomberg, the United States and allied forces fired missiles March 19 to repel a Libyan offense against rebel forces led by president Moammar Gadhafi.

    Since there will be a lengthy question and answer section, Dodson said Libya would probably be addressed the most in that portion of the event.

    Trip Nistico, a junior political science major, said he also plans to attend the panel and participate in the discussion.

    “I’m curious to see what these professors have to say,” Nistico said. “And grab some food while I’m there.”

    He said he had a good idea of what is going on in the Middle East because the issue has been brought up in almost all of his political science classes.

    “The Middle East is one of the most volatile regions on Earth, and we get most of our energy from that region,” he said. “It’s important for people and definitely students to know what’s going on over there.”

    Dodson said the panelists felt that this event worked closely with TCU’s mission statement, by not only helping to form global citizens but also world leaders. Students must pay attention to the changes taking place in the world in order to one day become a leader, he said.

    Student who are true global citizens will need to understand this once-in-a-lifetime event, he said.

    Horton said, as a business major, it was important to know current world events. Everything that happens overseas would affect the business environment in America, especially a war, she said.

    What: Panel discussing the political uprisings in the Middle East

    When: Tonight from 5 p.m.-7 p.m.

    Where: Palko Hall, Room 130

    Refreshments will be served starting at 4:30 p.m.

    For more information or questions call 817-257-7395 or email m.dorraj@tcu.edu.