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Dr. Joseph Al Agha on “Soft Power and Performing Arts in the Middle East”

Dr. Joseph Al Agha on “Soft Power and Performing Arts in the Middle East” 

On Thursday, May 30, 2013, Dr. Joseph Al Agha, a published author and guest professor from the Free University of Amsterdam, gave a lecture entitled “Soft Power and Performing Arts in the Middle East” for the last Haigazian University cultural hour of this academic year.
Dr. Arda Ekmekji, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, welcomed the audience and introduced them to the topic by framing the terms “soft power” and “performing arts” in the context of the evening’s lecture.

Beginning his presentation with the picture that would likely be on the cover of his next book, Dr. Al Agha discussed the ability to attract and persuade people without the use of coercion, namely “soft power”, a term coined by Joseph Nye in 1990. A particularly effective vehicle to that end is the spread of culture, explained Al Agha, giving the Westernization of the world as an example.
Al Agha dove at length into a discussion on the new trend of “post-Islamism”, which views Islam as a social practice that is progressing, and elaborated on various interpretations by different Islamic groups and leaders. 
He concluded his presentation with some more examples of this “art with a purpose”.
The lecture was followed by a Q&A session and refreshments.
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