UM Hosts 12th Annual Central and Southwest Asia Conference

April 21, 2014

MISSOULA – Faculty, students and researchers from around the world will gather to participate in the 12th annual Central and Southwest Asia Conference at the University of Montana Tuesday through Thursday, April 22-24.

The conference, hosted by the Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center at UM, will feature several panels and presentations on the history, culture, politics and religion of China, the Middle East, and Central and Southwest Asia.

All events will be held in the University Center Theater and are free and open to the public. The schedule is:

  • Tuesday, 12:30-2 p.m.: Central Southwest Asia Student Scholar Panel: “From Boston to Baghdad: The West and the Middle East Through the Lens of Time.” Presenters: UM students James Papai, Chelsea Pierce, Brian Wemple, Ethan Ryan and Eric Yeager; moderator: Carson Blake.
  • Tuesday, 2:30-4 p.m.: Russo-Central Asian Relations Before and After Annexation: “Russia and Central Asia: Northern-Southern Trade from the 17th Century to the Crimean War.” Presenter: UM student Kyeann Sayer. “Russia and Central Asia from the Great Game to the First World War.” Presenter and moderator: UM Professor Robert Greene.
  • Tuesday, 7-9 p.m.: “The Uyghurs: An Identity Crisis in China’s Borderlands.” Presenter: Henryk Szadziewski, Uyghur Human Rights Project senior researcher; moderator: UM Senior Eurasian Affairs Researcher Steven Levine.
  • Wednesday, noon-2 p.m.: “Uyghurs in China: Inside and Outside Perspectives.” Presenter: Berlin University of the Arts student Nijat Hushur; moderator: Associate Professor of anthropology Ardeshir Kia.
  • Wednesday, 2:30-4 p.m.: “Ancient Central Asia and its Impact on the Samanid Golden Age.” Presenter: Ardeshir Kia; moderator: Brian Wemple.
  • Wednesday, 7-9 p.m.: “Palestine and the Arab Spring.” Presenter: Shukri Abed, Al-Quds University, Jerusalem; moderator: UM Arabic language and culture Lecturer Samir Bitar.
  • Thursday, 11 a.m.-12:20 p.m.: “Past Israel-Palestine: Potential Syntheses of Reconciliation in the 21st Century.” Presenters: Bitar, Shukri Abed, Missoula County Public Schools Arabic Teacher Brendan Work, Wemple; moderator: Bitar.
  • Thursday, 12:25-1:30 p.m.: Central Southwest Asia Student Scholar Panel: “Central Asia Through the Ages: Ancient Traditions to Contemporary Issues.” Presenters: UM students Chris Hanson, Henry Collins, Larry Himes, Michael Covel, Michael Capozzoli; moderator: Kia.
  • Thursday, 1:40-2:50 p.m.: “Syria: A Proxy War in a New Global Order.” Presenter: Fadi Al-Batal, Bimand Inc. CEO; moderator: Bitar.
  • Thursday, 3-5 p.m.: China and the Middle East in the New Era: “Middle East Affairs and the Construction of New Models of Great Power Relations Between China and the United States;” presenter Liu Zhongmin, Shanghai International Studies University. “China’s Mediation Diplomacy in the Middle East: From Noninterference to Regional Governance;” presenter: Sun Degang, Shanghai International Studies University. “Religious Challenges Toward China’s Military Activities in the Middle East;” presenters: Niu Song, Shanghai International Studies University, and Sisu Pan, UM Central and Southwest Asian Studies Center. Moderator: Zhen Cao, UM Modern and Classical Languages and Literatures Department senior lecturer.

For more information call Bitar 406-243-4385 or email




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Contact: Samir Bitar, UM lecturer of Arabic language and cultures, 406-243-4385,