Alwan Seminar Series: Patrick Cockburn: “Ramifications of the Syrian Conflict on the Middle East"

Thu, May 1, 2014 4:30 pm at Alwan for the Arts

(View all alwan seminar series »)

Part of the Alwan for the Arts Seminar Series


Seminar by Award-Winning Journalist and The Independent Correspondent Patrick Cockburn

Time: 4:30 - 6:30 pm

By Invitation Only
(Free Event)

Guest Speaker: Patrick Cockburn

Seminar with Award-Winning Journalist and The Independent Correspondent Patrick Cockburn

Recent events and upheavals in the Middle East, and, in fact, across the world, have spotlighted and reaffirmed the complicity of aesthetics with power; of the seemingly sheltered creative process, and the objective analyses of the observer with the realities of the market place. The nexus of knowledge and power is an inescapable condition of contemporary society. That idiom is pivotal to the idea of the Alwan Seminar in so far as it presumes that politics and art or intellectual discourse in general are intertwined.

The Alwan seminar hosts artists, academics, intellectuals, and activists to reflect on their work and address, in an intimate gathering, issues that are of public concern. Going beyond the framework of the lecture, the seminar is intended to galvanize and resuscitate an intellectual movement, better yet, a renascence – or fresh rigorous look or gaze – and, in turn, an assessment and a project that can effect change or create something new and indeed exhilarating.

The seminar’s purpose, to paraphrase Roland Barthes, is not only to create communality and intimacy but more fundamentally complexity. Seminars more than lectures are transferential. Its members are not draped in the absolute authority of the lecturer overlooking the audience but as seminarians, they are more or less engaged in a horizontal relationship of knowledge, desire and sociality. The Alwan Seminar also assumes a responsibility of production: of reading a text, analyzing a work of art or a concept. In other words, it is a certain way of being together – one that creates an environment that can fulfill the inscription of significance.


Cockburn addresses the conflict in Syria and explores the intricacies of what is happening across the Middle East and the ramifications and impact that the Syrian conflict has had on the region. He will focus specifically on how it is covered in the media and identify a number of arguments within the contextual parameters of the Syrian conflict. Cockburn will also elucidate upon the success of al-Qaeda and similar organizations with parallel ideologies and modus operandi, and discuss how they have become the dominant force in western Iraq and eastern Syria, with the ability to mount attacks anywhere from the Iranian border to the Mediterranean. Discussions will also focus on the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria and how they have acted as a recruiting sergeant for Al-Qaeda and similarly-minded jihadis.

As part of a lecture circuit produced by Alwan for the Arts, Patrick Cockburn will also give a lecture entitled "The Struggle for Syria" at Columbia University + read more; and a lecture entitled, "The Syrian Crisis and Media Coverage" at The Graduate Center-CUNY + read more

For further information on the seminar or to inquire about invitations, please contact Sophie Couche

About Patrick Cockburn

Foreign Commentator of the Year (Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards 2013), Patrick Cockburn is the Iraq correspondent for The Independent in London. He has visited Iraq countless times since 1977 and was the recipient of the 2004 Martha Gellhorn Prize for War Reporting and the 2006 James Cameron Memorial Award. He is author of “The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq”, which was shortlisted for a National Book Critics Circle Award in 2006. Prior to The Independent, Patrick Cockburn was senior Middle East correspondent for the Financial Times and amongst the most experienced commentators on Iraq. He was one of the few journalists to remain in Baghdad during the Gulf War.

Dividing his time between London and the Middle East, Cockburn offers painstaking insight into the historical accumulation that has simultaneously imploded and exploded in the spinning turbulence that has engulfed the Middle East region in its entirety. He has worked in Moscow, Washington, Jerusalem, Belfast, Beirut and Baghdad and his books include “The Occupation”, “The Broken Boy” and “Muqtada al-Sadr and the Fall of Iraq”.


Henry's Demons (2011)
Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Battle for the Future of Iraq (2008)
Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Fall of Iraq (2008)
Muqtada Al-Sadr and the Shia Insurgency in Iraq (2008)
The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (2006)
The Broken Boy (2005)
Saddam Hussein: An American Obsession (2002)
Getting Russia Wrong: The End of Kremlinology (1989)


2013 Foreign Commentator of the Year, Editorial Intelligence Comment Awards 2013

2011 Costa Book Awards (Biography), Shortlist, Henry’s Demons: Living with Schizophrenia, A Father and Son’s Story (with Henry Cockburn)

2010 International Media Awards Peace Through Media Award

2009 Orwell Prize, coverage of Iraq and his son's schizophrenia

2006 James Cameron Prize

2005 Martha Gellhorn Prize


Alwan's programming is made possible, in part, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in Partnership with the City Council.

Last updated: 2014-04-22 11:33:55

Patrick Cockburn, Foreign Commentator of the Year (2013)
Patrick Cockburn, Foreign Commentator of the Year (2013)

Alwan for the Arts

16 Beaver Street, 4th Floor
(between Broad St. and Broadway)
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732-3261

Alwan Auction 2016

Join Our Mailing List:



Classes are currently being scheduled. Please check back soon for updates.



There are currently no upcoming events.


16 Beaver Street
4th Floor
New York, NY 10004
(646) 732 3261
Email Us

Alwan for the Arts is accessible to people with disabilities. Please call 646 732 3261 in advance, or, buzz at the door to arrange a ramp.

© 2020 Alwan for the Arts

Hosting donated by:, the Arabic Encyclopedia