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About The Field

Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization provides students with conceptual skills that will assist them in interpreting the revolutionary course of events taking place in what was the core region of Islamic Civilization. At the regional level the geographical focus of the field includes Southwest Asia (roughly South Asia to Egypt), the Eastern Mediterranean, Central Asia, and the Caucasus. At the global level of analysis its courses are particularly concerned with how the history, culture, politics, and economics of the states and societies of this portion of Eurasia condition the human response to an accelerating impact of global change. Lectures, reading assignments, and other course requirements are specifically designed to fit the curriculum of The Fletcher School and will develop students' interest in Southwest and Central Asia into a firm understanding of the complexity of the region.

Students should refer to the Registrar's Field of Study Guide for definitive field requirements in a given academic year.

Current Students and Alumni

Robert Evans

Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy (MALD)
Class Year: 2020

Outside the Classroom

  • Shifting Sands in the Middle East: Implications for U.S. Policy
  • The Arab Spring: Lessons Learned and Future Prospects
  • Sectarianism, Democracy and the Future of the Gulf States
  • Ginn Library Book Talk: "Land of Aching Hearts: The Middle East in the Great War" by Leila Fawaz
  • Leading Social Activism Against Religious Intolerance and Sectarian Violence
  • Sharia, Constitutions and Politics in the countries of the Arab Spring
  • Rawabi City: Can commerce build peace and prosperity in conflict-torn Palestine?
  • IBGC Speaker Series: Egypt’s Turn? A Day in the Life of a Democracy Activist turned Entrepreneur
  • Public Lecture: "Markers of Country Fragility" with Professor Nassim Taleb
  • The Regional Politics of Turkey: Altay Cengizer, Turkish Foreign Minister
  • A Middle East Strategic Overview: Charles Freilich, Senior Fellow, Belfer Center International Security Program
  • Why Are We in Afghanistan? Dr. Barnett Rubin, Director of Studies and Senior Fellow, NYU Center on International Cooperation
  • War and Politics in Iraq: Recent European Efforts Integrated into the Coalition Strategy: Ambassador Lawrence Butler
  • The United States and the Middle East: What Comes Next After Iraq?
  • Middle East Institute - Washington, DC
  • Economena Analytics - Beirut, Lebanon
  • International Studies Journal - Tehran, Iran
  • US Department of State - Ankara, Turkey
  • International Institute for Counter-Terrorism - Herzliya, Israel
  • UNRWA - Amman, Jordan
  • ILO Cairo Decent Work Team - Cairo, Egypt
  • UNDP - Amman, Jordan
  • Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights - Cairo, Egypt
  • "Mothers and Martyrs: Hamas' Use of Female Suicide Bombers and the Reinterpretation of Women's Roles in Jihad"
  • "Unraveling the Paradox: The Resilience of Women's Rights Activism in Iran within the Context of a Changing Political Environment"
  • “Trends in youth political engagement during Tunisia’s democratic transition, 2010-2014″
  • “The 2014 Tunisian electoral system: implications of a semi-presidential system on the nascent democracy”
  • “Russia’s invasion of Crimea: effects on energy geopolitics in the Caucasus and the Central Asia”
  • “How to Evaluate Non-State Actors for Political and Military Partnerships in Irregular Conflicts: A Case Study of the Free Syrian Army”
Student Groups
  • The Fletcher Syria Crisis Working Group
  • Fletcher Islamic Society
  • Fletcher Students in Security
  • Human Rights Project
  • International Migration Group
  • Mediterranean Group (Med Club)
  • Post-Soviet Nations Club
  • Fletcher Security Review
  • Al Naklah: Online Journal on Southwest Asia and Islamic Civilization
Annotated Curriculum

A Fletcher education is highly customizable, and each student may decide on a different academic trajectory to suit his or her own professional and academic goals. To get a better sense of how these individual curricular decisions can play out, we asked recent students in their final semester to talk about their goals, their classes, and the decisions made during their Fletcher career. Meet Rizwan:

Pre-Fletcher Experience

  • Undergraduate degree in International Affairs with a focus on security studies
  • 1 year in business development at Bank of America (Atlanta)
  • 2 years in tech consulting at Infosys Technologies (Mysore, India and Boston)

Fields of Study
International Security Studies
Southwest Asia & Islamic Civilization

Capstone Project
U.S. Legal Innovation in Arms Control and Non-Proliferation
My thesis, under the supervision of the late Professor William C. Martel, examined the creative ways in which U.S. negotiators have made progress on international arms control and non-proliferation agendas without being held hostage by domestic constituents. I employed Putnam's two-level game model to demonstrate how negotiators were able to overcome resistance at Table 2 (the domestic level) by making slight legal adjustments, without sacrificing the substance of the negotiations or agreements at Table 1 (the international level).

Read about Rizwan's curricular path.

Faculty with expertise in the field: