Middle East Institute 63rd Annual Conference in DC| December 1, 2009
I was fortunate to be a one of the students this year to attend the Middle Eastern Institute’s (MEI) 63rd annual conference in the beginning of November. The Critchfield Endowment sponsored the students Dina Abdul Fattah, Alicia Noriega, Adam Farrar, Will Taylor, and myself as well as professors Debra Shulman and Christie Swiney to attend this years MEI conference entitled “Rewriting The Middle East Agenda” in Washington DC’s National Press Club. This is the fourth year that the Critchfield Endowment was able to expand the horizon of education for the College of William and Mary as attendees of the MEI conference.
Amongst the 600 people who attended the conference, The College of William and Mary was the only school that sponsored a table at the banquet and represented itself as a group. At the banquet, students were able to connect with important figures, such as renowned scholars, ambassadors, journalists, authors, retired officials and other figures involved in the Middle East. The conference itself consisted of four panel discussions of issues that concern the Middle East. Some of the speakers included former US Ambassador to Afghanistan Zalmay Khalilzad, Undersecretary for Political Affairs William J. Burns, former CIA Director James Woolsey, former Ambassador to Israel and Egypt Daniel Kurtzer plus many others.
The conference was rewarding since it provided the audience with an array of views and thought on a region that needs all the thoughts available. I felt it was especially useful for the students who went there since it broadened their intellectual experience.