Weekend Symposium to Honor Professor Gene Garthwaite

This weekend, policy experts and academics in the field of Middle Eastern Studies from all around the world are converging on the College to take part in a conference on Middle Eastern affairs to honor of one of the country’s leading experts in the area, Professor Gene Garthwaite. Garthwaite, who joined the Dartmouth faculty in 1968, founded Dartmouth’s Asian and Middle Eastern Studies Department, and is a particular expert on Persian history and modern Iran.

Professor Garthwaite is retiring at the end of this term, and the symposium, entitled “Crossing At the Green,” is taking place as a celebration of his impressive career as a member of the College faculty. Panels during the conference will feature notable experts on Middle Eastern Studies, including 14 of Garthwaite’s former students, such as U.S. Ambassador to Turkey Francis Ricciardone ’73 and Gregory Aftandilian ’79, former U.S. foreign policy advisor and Middle East analyst. Different panels today and tomorrow will be addressing various parts of Islamic history, as well as relevant modern topics concerning that part of the world, such as the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and the ongoing rebellions in Libya and Syria.

Professor Garthwaite has also been responsible in recent years for appealing to the Administration to introduce Farsi and Hindi as options for undergraduates to study as a foreign language.  With 70 million and 250 million speakers worldwide (respectively), those two languages’ populations constitute some of the most dynamic and rapidly increasing groups today.  Professor Garthwaite believes that it is crucial that the option to study these languages is soon incorporated into the Department of Foreign Languages at the College.  He has facilitated independent studies for about a dozen students (including myself) to study these languages over the past few years, and hopes to see those efforts institutionalized formally in the near future.


–Georgia B. Travers