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September 23, 2020

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Ohio Northern University to hold panel discussion on ‘Crises in the Middle East’

Ohio Northern University’s Phi Beta Delta honorary society for international scholars presents “Crises in the Middle East: A Panel Discussion” in the Dicke Forum on Tuesday, Oct. 1, at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The panel is comprised of four professors from the ONU Department of History, Political Science and Justice who will share their insights on the Middle East crises and the ongoing civil war in Syria. After a brief presentation from the panel, a question and answer session will follow.

Michael Loughlin, professor of history, will serve as the moderator of the event. The panelists are Andrew Ludanyi, professor emeritus of political science; Dr. David R. Smith, associate professor of geography; Kofi Nsia-Pepra, assistant professor of history; and Umar Sulayman, director of the English for a Specific Purpose and the Prison Management Certificate programs.

Loughlin has taught for more than 40 years at all levels in various schools and colleges in Indiana, Texas and Ohio. He has spent most of the last 25 years at ONU, where he has taught classes in Modern European History, The French Revolution, Modern France, The Varieties of Fascism, World War I, Hitler and Nazi Germany, the Holocaust, American Foreign Policy, the History of the American Environmental Movement, and Western Political Thought from Plato to Rawls and Nozick. His juried publications generally derive from his longstanding interest in fascism in general and French fascism in particular.

Ludanyi is a professor emeritus who taught at ONU for 40 years before retiring in 2008. He is a specialist in international relations and comparative politics, and his research focuses on the fate of minorities in East Central Europe. Ludanyi taught courses on the history of the Ottoman Empire and the Contemporary Middle East for more than three decades at ONU.

Nsia-Pepra’s teaching experiences include teaching at the University of Michigan (Dearborn), Wayne State University, Central Michigan University and Hanyang University in South Korea. Nsia-Pepra is a former officer (flight lieutenant) of the Ghana Air Force (1990-99) and a trained administrator and paratrooper. He served with the United Nations’ Assisted Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR). He also served with the Economic Community of West African Monitoring Group (ECOMOG) as the Ghana Air Force detachment commander during the Sierra Leonean War. His research and teaching interests are international relations, conflict analysis and resolution, critical international security, human rights, United Nations peacekeeping, and governance.

Smith is trained as a geographer and has extensive experience in international affairs in Russia, Central Asia, the Caucasus and the Middle East. He has a range of management and public policy experience, including issues involving the environment, water, mapping and GIS, Iran, the Caucuses and Central Asia, China, the Koreas, climate, and regional conflict. Smith has been invited to present his research at several conferences in Iran, sponsored by the Institute for Political and International Studies of the Foreign Ministry of Iran. He also serves as a consultant for the United Nations-affiliated International Research Foundation for Development, assisting on social and economic policy in a number of different countries. Smith earned both his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Chicago.

Sulayman received his Bachelor of Arts with honors and master’s degree in English and linguistics from the University of Baghdad. In 2006, he received a Fulbright Scholarship to study in the United States, and, as a result, he received a second master’s degree in Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Fearing for his life, he was granted asylum in 2008 after appearing in a Pittsburgh Tribune-Review article titled “Marked for Death.” Born and raised in Iraq, Sulayman has been invited to talk about his experiences in the Middle East, the Sunni-Shiite split and the post-Saddam Iraq.

Phi Beta Delta is the honor society for international scholars. Founded in 1987, the nominees for membership in the Gamma Upsilon chapter of Phi Beta Delta include outstanding faculty, staff, students and alumni. The society hopes to integrate those who possess a deep commitment to international affairs, education and research. One of the functions of the Gamma Upsilon chapter has been to create a regular forum in which international affairs can be discussed using University sources and by seeking prominent individuals with varied experience in international affairs recruited from beyond the University community.