Ware Seminar features Ozkanca, Craig, Davis to share expertise

The Etownian November 28, 2012 0

The Susquehanna room was filled Tuesday night on the Elizabethtown College campus as students, faculty, staff and locals came out to the 2012 Ware Seminar that was specifically focusing on the topic of the current conflict in Syria. A panel of three distinguished individuals, Dr. Oya Ozkanca, Ambassador John Craig and Dr. Joyce Davis hosted the lecture and offered their expertise on the conflict in Syria as well as other current world affairs.
The Ware Colloquium on Global Citizenship and Peacemaking was started by Judy Ware and her husband Paul. The couple decided to create the program to widen others’ horizons to a bigger world and the issues that are taking place. The program is split up into three parts in which each part is held at different times and covers different topics and issues; the first part of the program is a lecture that is held every year in the springtime and global leaders are brought to the lecture to cover a certain topic. The second part is seminars, like the one this past Tuesday, which are held in a smaller area, like the Susquehanna Room, pressing global issues. The final part takes place throughout campus through peace and conflict studies by developing a program for peer mediation. Judy is an alumna of Etown and is a member of the Board of Trustees.
Ambassador John Craig began the seminar as the first presenter of the night. Craig served as a U.S. ambassador to Oman from 1998 to 2001. He then was appointed by former President George W. Bush as an official assistant in the area of counter terrorism. Currently, he is now the ambassador in residence at the new Center for Global Understanding and Peacemaking. He first began by stating which topics each of the presenters were going to be covering in the seminar that led up to present day Syria and its conflicts. The topic he was covering was the history of Syria.
“History is extremely important when dealing with the Middle East,” Craig said. “We forget that while political history is only really about 65 years old, so most of the people involved in the events going on today have been alive throughout the whole real political, modern political sphere of the Middle East.” Craig covered events from Syria separating from Iraq in the beginning and never having their own identity, to the creation of the Ba’ath Party, which was founded in 1947 for the development and creation of the United Arab Nation, and finished with Syria beginning a peaceful revolution in 2011 when Assad’s regime extremists introduced guns and weapons. Syria has had a very complicated and hectic history over a matter of 55 years. After Craig completed his presentation, he handed the floor over to Davis.
Davis is was the founder and president of the World Affairs Council in Harrisburg and a member of the World Affairs Council of America. She is an internationally acclaimed author, who has lived and traveled around the globe, and specializes in foreign affairs and media, particularly terrorism, national security, and Islam. She also is a member of the Board of Trustees at Elizabethtown College. At the seminar, she covered the second topic of the “different factions that make up the opposition in Syria and what the dynamics are with them and how they are pursuing this conflict and opposition with the government,” as Craig stated. During her presentation, Davis touched on subjects of each of the divided rebel groups in Syria, such as the Islamist Rebels, the Free Syrian Army, the Tawhid, which was one of the largest Saudi groups, and the KURDS, which is a democratic union party that controls the north. “One of the most traumatic things I learned about Syria was the mob,” Davis said. This was a country that was waiting for some kind of explosion because of what happened to so many people in a short span of time as the Muslim rebels were trying to throw off dictatorship and get more representatives and has been ever since.” The division between groups causes conflicts like the above statement frequently.
Ozkanca has been teaching at the College for six years and is the assistant professor of political science. She is also the director of the International Studies minor program and specializes on transatlantic security and international relations. She was the final presenter of the seminar, covering the issues Syria has with the conflict and the toll it takes on the region. “Towards the end of the 1990s, Turkey and Syria [have] come to the brink [of] a war because of water dispute; the Turkish government was planning on building a dam to produce electricity from it,” Ozkanca said. Additionally, the largest border between Turkey and Syria is a flat geography, making it hard to defend and making the Syrian region even more unstable. The disputes between these two countries make Syria’s conflicts arise more and more.
“Each of us has a specific role on bringing you up to date on the conflicts in Syria,” Ambassador Craig stated. “The purpose, of course, is to give you the opportunity to take a look at the conflicts, which we’re dealing with.” Each of the panelists did just that. They explained in depth the severity of the issues that have been occurring for years , which most of us were not aware of. In a matter of an hour, they brought us up to date on the important events that occurred in Syria’s past up until today and what we never knew. The topic appealed to all, and the seminar brought people from both on campus and off, intriguing all who went with the issues that we rarely hear about or actually listen to. It also related to the students, the community and the College, because each person who attended was there for different reasons, but all came with the same interest in the topic.
“As a student,” said junior Eileen Kroszner, who was also present for the seminar, “I will be able to relate this seminar to material I am learning for my peace and conflict studies minor.”

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