Lecture: “The Struggle for Syria" by Patrick Cockburn

Wed, April 30, 2014 6:30 pm at Schapiro Hall, Davis Auditorium

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The Department of Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies (MESAAS), Alwan for the Arts, the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society, and the Middle East Institute Present

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

Date: Wednesday, April 30th, 2014
Location: Shapiro Hall, Davis Auditorium, Columbia University
(W120th Street and Broadway) (directions)
Time: 6:30pm-8:00pm

Free and open to the public

As part of the Patrick Cockburn lecture circuit produced by Alwan for the Arts, a lecture entitled "The Syrian Crisis and Media Coverage" by Patrick Cockburn will also be given at MEMEAC The Graduate Center - CUNY + read more

A seminar (by invitation only) with Patrick Cockburn will also take place at Alwan for the Arts on Thursday, May 1, 2014 + read more

A Lecture by Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn
, award-winning journalist, author and seasoned commentator on Middle Eastern politics, delves into the intricacies of understanding what is happening across the Middle East and the ramifications and impact that the Syrian conflict has had on the region, with a specific focus on the significant expansion and spread of splintered militias causing civil and sectarian conflicts. Throughout the lecture series, co-sponsored by Alwan for the Arts, Cockburn will provide thorough insight into why Al-Qaeda, a comparatively small organization at the time of 9/11, has expanded exponentially – despite the vast sums of money spent in allegedly combating the organization's activities, the huge expansion of Western security services, limitations on civil liberties, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and torture and rendition.

Identifying a number of arguments within the contextual parameters of the Syrian conflict, in this lecture, Cockburn elucidates 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.

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: 2014-04-21 18:44:31

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

Schapiro Hall, Davis Auditorium

Morningside Heights
New York, NY 10027

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