Inside the Middle East provides a select group of Gettysburg students with a distinct opportunity to develop the analytical and intelligence skills necessary to understand the contemporary Middle East. This objective is achieved through lectures, guided discussion sessions, one on one interaction, individual and group work, directed readings, and the application of analytical and intelligence tools provided throughout the year. The program is open to all students who have an interest in Middle East regardless of their major or previous coursework.
The substantive theme for the 2016-2017 program is “A Changing Middle East Requires a New Understanding” and will cover diverse issues including: the ABC’s of the Middle East; the primary players in the Middle East today; the major issues that influence current events in the region; the challenge of Militant Islam; the Arab Spring; current trends and future directions; and the role of social media. In addition, students will learn and employ intelligence tools and skills that they will use to explore various issues related to the Middle East.
Avi Melamed is the Fellow of Intelligence & Middle East Affairs at the Eisenhower Institute. A former Israeli Senior Official on Arab Affairs and former Senior Intelligence Official, Melamed is today an Independent Middle East Strategic Intelligence Analyst, Regional Expert and lecturer specializing in the current affairs of the Arab and Muslim world and their impact on Israel and the region.
Avi’s expertise includes: The Arab awakening; Arab perspectives on Israel; emerging challenges and opportunities in the Middle East; evolving forces in the region and their current and future impact on Israel’s strategic environment, etc.
In his work as an analyst Avi provides intelligence analysis, briefings and tours to diplomats, Israeli and foreign policy makers, international media outlets as well as a wide variety of organizations and private clients on a range of Israel and Middle East affairs. His analysis, tours and briefings - based on Arab sources, decades of field experience, policy design and intimate connections throughout the Arab world - offer an insider’s view of the constantly-changing Middle East landscape and future regional implications.
Avi is also the founder and creator of Feenjan – Israel speaks Arabic, a non-profit initiative which presents contemporary Israeli society and culture to the Arab world in Arabic, and serves as an online platform for Israelis and Arabs to discover and discuss issues of common interest. In the private sector Avi facilitates relationships between Israeli and international firms and potential partners in the Arab world.
Fluent in Arabic and with a unique understanding of Arab society and culture, Avi spent almost thirty years living in Arab cities and communities throughout the region, often in high-risk positions at sensitive times. Avi’s unique experience, outstanding analytical abilities, profound understanding of the Arab world and the Arabic language - coupled with direct access to sources, resources and networks throughout the Arab world and intimate connections with local and regional intelligence resources has allowed him to keep his finger on the pulse on the Arab world that has resulted in a proven record of foreseeing the evolution of events as well as their impact on a local and regional level.
Through all of Avi’s efforts, as a speaker, an analyst, a writer, and an entrepreneur, he is a bridge builder. He dedicates himself to enhancing the Arabic, English and Hebrew speaking audience’s comprehensive understanding of the Middle East and of each other. Avi coauthored Separate and Unequal: Israel's Rule in East Jerusalem in 1999, and he wrote Ubrusi: The Novel in 2010.
The program is divided into four complementary parts: