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January 5, 2007

Middle East Scholar to Discuss Arab Women’s Role in Democratic Reform at January 19 Falmouth Forum at the MBL

MBL, WOODS HOLE, MA— Americans’ misconceptions about the Arab world make it difficult to understand the place of women in Arab society. Dr. Andrea Rugh, author of numerous books on Middle Eastern culture, will explore how Arab women’s issues are central to many of the contradictions between Western and Arab views of society and governance in a talk titled “Arab Women’s Dilemmas with Democratic Reform,” Friday, January 19 at 7:30 p.m. in the MBL’s (Marine Biological Laboratory’s) Lillie Auditorium, 7 MBL Street, Woods Hole.

The lecture, presented by the MBL Associates and sponsored in part by the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, is part of the 2006-2007 Falmouth Forum series and is free and open to the public.

Dr. Rugh will describe how the West’s models of liberal democracy come up against contradictory legal codes, concepts of rights, and modes of political participation in the Arab World and will discuss where Arab women stand on international measures of women’s progress, and identify areas where Arabs themselves believe women’s issues need reform. According to Dr. Rugh, because Arabs and Westerners see these issues so differently, it is important to understand Arab views before seeking reforms that may have entirely different consequences in Arab societies.

During her career Dr. Rugh has been a technical advisor for USAID development assistance projects in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa. From 1987 to 1994 she was Research Associate for the Harvard Institute of International Development, and from 1996 to 2002 worked on projects for Save the Children and UNICEF in Pakistan and Afghanistan. She is currently Adjunct Scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington D.C.

Based on more than 40 years work and residence in Arab countries, Dr. Rugh has published a number of books on Middle Eastern culture and society including Family in Contemporary Egypt (1984), Reveal and Conceal: Dress in Contemporary Egypt (1986), Within the Circle: Parents and Children in an Arab Village (1997), and two translated books Daughter of Damascus (1994), and Tales of Aleppo (2004). Her latest book is The Political Culture of Leadership in the United Arab Emirates (forthcoming Palgrave-Macmillan).

Dr. Rugh received her Ph.D. in Social Anthropology from American University in Washington, D.C. and a B.A. in Psychology from Oberlin College.

Admission to this Falmouth Forum presentation is free and open to the public. A buffet dinner is available before the lecture at 6:00 PM in the Swope Center located near the auditorium. Dinner tickets are $20 and must be purchased in advance at either Eight Cousins Children’s Books, Main Street, Falmouth, or at the MBL’s Communications Office in the Candle House, 127 Water Street in Woods Hole. Dinner seats are limited, and tickets are only available until they sell out or until 5:00 PM on Tuesday, January 16. All tickets are nonrefundable. For more information contact the MBL’s Communications Office at 508-289-7423.

The Falmouth Forum will continue throughout the winter. The remaining lectures in the series are below.
  • February 9 - "The Pathos of Bubonic Plague in Italy (1500-1800) Depicted Through Art" - James Welu, Director, Worcester Art Museum and Richard Glew, M.D., Professor of Medicine, Molecular Genetics and Microbiology, UMass Medical School

  • March 15 - "The Old Ship of Zion: African American Gospel Music"
    Horace Clarence Boyer, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus of Music at UMASS Amherst
    **NOTE: Thursday Lecture**

All lectures are free and open to the public. For more information and for full lecture descriptions, visit http://www.mbl.edu/falmouthforum


The MBL is a leading international, independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to discovery and to improving the human condition through creative research and education in the biological, biomedical and environmental sciences. Founded in 1888 as the Marine Biological Laboratory, the MBL is the oldest private marine laboratory in the Western Hemisphere. For more information, visit www.MBL.edu

Since 1944, the MBL Associates has promoted the scientific mission of the MBL. The group supports the Annual Fund, provides a formal connection for anyone interested in learning about the institution, and sponsors gifted students and promising young investigators. Members also raise funds for special projects and organize educational and cultural programs for the MBL and the community. In addition, they operate the MBL Associates Gift Shop, located on Water Street in Woods Hole, the profits from which support scientific fellowships.