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Past Program Highlights

2015 - 2016
Gail speaking at Podium

On September 19th, Gail Holst-Warhaft spoke in the Music Department Colloquium on Theodorakis’s music.

Poster for Professor Openheimer's talk

Paul Openheimer, Professor of Comparative Literature and English at the City University of New York, gave a talk titled "Machiavelli: Beyond Ideology" in Physical Science Building. 

Poster for "Clash of Civilizations"

The author of the well-known book Clash of Civilizations Over an Elevator in Piazza Vittorio, Amara Lakhous, gave a speech about immigration inKaufmann Auditorium. The title of the speech was Immigration as a Gift, the gift of Immigration

Book Cover

Mediterranean Book Event 

Water Scarcit, Security, and Democracy: A Meditarranean Mosaic

Edited by Francesca de Chatel, Gail Host-Warhaft and Tammo Steenhuis

Picture of man speaking on podium

A water conference was held to discuss the following questions: What legal, scientific, political and economic management tools can be brought to the table to reduce the risks? And what are the dangers of neglecting water risks? Are changes in water management likely to exacerbate political and social tensions? Is a democratic approach to the equitable use of scarce water resources possible? What role can scientists, legislators, NGO's and international bodies, business leaders, artists and private individuals play in reducing water risk and creating a basis for successful management of an increasingly scarce global resource.

Poster for "Classical Spies"

This talk will discuss Ottoman state’s wartime policy of absorbing Armenian women and children into Muslim households andinstitutions, a process that constituted an integral part of what came to be known as the Armenian genocide. Dr. Ekmekciogluwill analyze the postwar policies of the Armenian Patriarchate in Istanbul regarding abducted and forcibly Islamized womenand children. This historical episode in which both the perpetrator and victim share the same norms, values, descent rules, andassumptions about each sex’s nature and culture, exposes how and why women matter to national, ethnic, and state projects,especially for those in crisis.

2014 - 2015
Poster for "The Makings of the Greek Crisis"

A talk titled "The Makings of the Greek Crisis" by John Psaropoulos, an independent journalist. 

2013 - 2014
Jan Vakarelis Image

Renowned international concert pianist Jan Vakarelis visited Cornell University from March 9-14, 2014.

Vakarelis has enjoyed a major international career since winning 1st Prize at the Queen Sofia International Piano Competition in Madrid, with appearances in Europe, North and South America, Japan and the Far East.


Poster for the CMEMME Concert

The Cornell Middle Eastern & Mediterranean Ensemble (CMEMME) Winter Concert, December of 2013.

Poster for "Ay Amor" Concert

The world premier of Ay Amor, a special evening of songs featuring the lyrical Greek American vocalist Lina Orfanos and the Greek composer Dimitris Maramis.

Poster for "En Chordais" Concert

The internationally famous, award-winning group “En Chordais,” who perform music from the Mediterranean and Middle East, gave a concert in Barnes Hall on March 4th sponsored by the MSI and the Music Department. 

Earlier Events

Greek Water Conference and Roundtable


June 8-15, 2008

A Roundtable and Concert took place in the Athens Planetarium, June 15th, 2008, with world-renowned singer Mariza Koch. After site-visits and meetings in Crete, Argos, and Oinofitos with local officials, Greek scientists and activists, members of Cornell’s Mediterranean Water Group organized a conference and round-table at the Athens Planetarium attended by Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, and visitors from other Mediterranean countries discussed fresh water issues in Greece and the eastern Mediterranean.Participation by members of the public, the scholarly community, environmental activist groups and students from Greece and neighboring Mediterranean countries was welcome.

Conference Organizers:

Gail Holst-Warhaft 

Director, Mediterranean Initiative, Institute for European Studies Adjunct Professor, Classics and Comparative Literature   

Panayiotis Nektarios 

Assistant Professor Dep. of Floriculture and Landscape Architecture Agricultural University of Athens


The Water Project 2007

Global warming, industrialization, intensive agriculture, tourism, the construction of large dams and rising population have all contributed to make fresh water a contentious commodity in the region. This major new initiative was launched in fall of 2007 to address what is seen as one of the major crises of the 20th century. A combination of conferences, workshops, and other special events, this initiative also produced an interdisciplinary graduate course (Water and Culture in the Mediterranean: A Crisis? (BEE 754), Law (779), D.Soc 694) that is coordinated by Gail Holst-Warhaft (CIES, NES, Com Lit., Classics, Law), Tammo Steenhuis (BEE), and Keith Porter (Law). A popular course, it was taught for a second time in spring 2008.In connection with this project, Cornell signed official Memorandums of Understanding with the American Universities in Beirut and Cairo.


Turkey: Culture, Change & Development 2005

Southeastern Anatolia was, until recently, under-developed and isolated from the sophisticated urban centers of western Turkey and regarded as the “forgotten Turkey.” It was also a center of racial and ethnic conflict, particularly between Turks and Kurds. As Turkey prepared for discussions about membership in the European Union, it was felt Southeastern Anatolia would be a major focus of concern, not only because of its economic and social problems, but also because its borders with Iraq and Syria make it one of the most important strategic areas in the world today.

Academic lectures and forums were intertwined with cultural events throughout the week. Events included a photography exhibition, Turkish artists and craftspeople selling their crafts in a sumptuous Ottoman tent in Willard Straight Hall Gallery, lectures, book readings, and film screenings. The week culminated with a musical performance of Anatolian and other Turkish melodies by the Cornell Middle Eastern Ensemble.


European Turkey 2004

This forum took as its themes: the creation of the modern Turkish state, Turkey’s development since the second World War, minorities in Turkey, European fears of Islamic fundamentalism, Turkey’s bid to join the E.U., and the role of trade and economic development in creating and maintaining Turkey’s secular status.


Morocco 2004

Cornell Institute for European Studies (CIES) presented a week of activities focused on Morocco and its relations with Europe, past and present.


Theodorakis Poetry 2004

This event combined a reading of selected poems by Mikis Theodorakis, a concert, and a book signing. Professor Gail Holst-Warhaft translated.


Cyprus 2003

This forum included leaders of the Turkish and Greek municipalities of Nicosia and scholars who observed Cyprus before and after the opening of the Green Line. It included a panel of specialists on other areas in Europe where contending ethnic communities have been or continue to be physically separated by walls or other impenetrable borders. The aim of this forum was not to retrace the history of the Cyprus dispute, but to concentrate on the effects of the separation on the population of the island, to consider the U.N.’s role as a mediator between the Turkish and Greek communities, and to examine the effects of the recent border crossings on both sides.