Oman Reborn: Balancing Tradition and Modernization
with author, Linda Pappas Funsch
When: Thursday, August 16, 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: To be determined.
Cost: Tickets are $10 in advance/$12 at the door for CIR members and $12 in advance/$15 at the door for nonmembers.
Linda Pappas Funsch, author of Oman Reborn: Balancing Tradition and Modernization (2015, Palgrave Macmillan), will discuss the history and modern transformation of the Sultanate of Oman, a little known, but vitally important, country of the Arab Middle East. The story of Oman is compelling; a maritime power that has prospered as the global hub for the frankincense trade in antiquity, its unique world view and international relations of today are a reflection of its prolonged interaction, over many centuries, with diverse cultures. Its unbroken alliance with the United States, dating from 1790, is unparalleled among countries of the Middle East. “Friend to all, enemy to none,” Oman offers a compelling example of an independent, forward-looking nation whose modern foreign policy is a product of its history, values, and realistic appraisal of 21st century dynamics.
Linda Pappas Funsch is a career specialist in Islamic and modern Middle Eastern history and cultures. This journey has included extensive study, travel, and residence throughout the region, from Morocco on the west to the countries of the Persian Gulf on the east.
Following undergraduate study at Marymount College, Tarrytown (NY) and the American University in Cairo, she was awarded an M.A. in Near Eastern Languages and Literature at New York University.
Ms. Funsch has served as editor of The Arab World magazine in New York, consultant for the League of Arab States’ office to the United Nations, project specialist for the Ford Foundation, both in Beirut and New York, and US Director of the American Research in Egypt consortium in Princeton, NJ.
Author of many published articles highlighting her travels through Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen, Linda Funsch has taught at several colleges in New York and Maryland, including Iona College, Mount Saint Mary’s University, Hood College and — for 15 years and currently — at Frederick (MD) Community College’s Institute for Learning in Retirement where she offers a wide range of courses and special programs relating to Islam and the Middle East to highly motivated, non-traditional “life-long learners.”
As a public speaker, she is invited regularly to address topics relating to the Middle East and Islam throughout the Washington, DC metro area and beyond. She has appeared as guest lecturer at Georgetown University, the World Affairs Council, the World Bank, the National Defense University, Mary Washington University, and Baylor University, among others. She has been interviewed on Voice of America radio, the global broadcast institution of the U.S. Government. In addition, she is engaged in a number of ecumenical outreach activities, aimed at fostering an understanding and appreciation of the shared values among the Abrahamic faith traditions.
On behalf of the Washington-based National Council on U.S. Arab Relations, Ms. Funsch has led delegations of students, adults, and U.S. military officers to various destinations throughout the Middle East for intensive cultural immersion study tours. In recent years, her research has focused increasingly on the countries of the Persian Gulf. On two occasions, she has served as lead escort to the Sultanate of Oman with a select delegation of U. S. Central Command (CENTCOM) officers. Her book, Oman Reborn: Balancing Tradition and Modernization, was published in September, 2015 by Palgrave Macmillan and translated into Arabic in 2017.