Choose from the different talks below.

1. SOAS General Election Hustings

2. Human Rights Violations and Political Repression in Mexico: The Case of Ayotzinapa

2. The Crisis of Extremes: A Medidation on Indian Politics

3. Experiences from Iraq: What Really Went Wrong

4. Diane Abbott MP - The Age of Intolerance: Fighting Racism, Antisemitism and Islamophobia

5. Beyond Religion: ISIS and the Crisis in the Middle East


UK General Election Hustings

Nik Slingsby, Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Cities of London and Westminster (ex-SOAS Student)

Will Blair, Conservative parliamentary candidate for Holborn and St Pancras

Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader and arliamentary candidate for Holborn and St Pancras

Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat MP for Carshalton and Wallington - Deputy Leader of the House of Commons, Assistant Government Whip


Human Rights Violations and Political Repression in Mexico: The Case of Ayotzinapa



On September 26th 2014, 43 students from a school of Ayotzinapa, Mexico, were kidnapped. Nobody knows exactly what happened that night. Official reports claim that they were taken by police and passed to the local drug cartel of Guerreros Unidos, who presumably killed them.

This talk discusses the implications of that tragic episode.

The panelists explore the social and political causes that lead to disappearances in Mexico, with specific reference to the Ayotzinapa case. 

Panelists include:

1) ELLA MCPHERSON, University of Cambridge 


3) LEANDRO VERGARA-CAMUS, SOAS, University of London 

4) DIANA IBAÑEZ-TIRADO, SOAS, University of London 

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Photo credits Inside Out Project London in solidarity with Mexico



The Crisis of Extremes: A Meditation on Indian Politics

SU Current Affairs Lecture Series

Developments in India since the mid 1980’s signify the breakdown of consensual politics and the ideal of composite Indian nationhood. Communal animosity has corroded the social conscience, contributed to a disregard of human life, and led to the decay of a reliable criminal justice system.

Radical rhetoric these days covers all shades of the political spectrum - the reality today is that extremism is a mainstream phenomenon. We need to rediscover the virtues of moderation.


DILIP SIMEON: was part of the Maoist movement in India which he left in 1972 in the wake of the Bangladesh crisis. From 1974 till 1994 he taught history at Delhi University. From 1984 onward, he participated in a citizen's campaign against communal violence, known as the Sampradayikta Virodhi Andolan (Movement Against Communalism). From 1998 till 2003 he worked on a conflict-mitigation project with Oxfam; and is now associated with the Aman Trust, which works to understand and reduce violent conflict.


His blog contains several articles and reports on the issues discussed -


Experiences from Iraq: What Really Went Wrong


SOAS SU Current Affairs Lecture Series

The chaos in Iraq has its roots in the fractured state building project brought about by the occupation of the country.

Between 2003 and 2011, Iraq was transformed by a foreign occupation that saw state institutions and power divided between a select few political actors. In this exclusive political arrangement, the Iraqi state ceased to function properly as its governing institutions came under the control of Shia, Sunni and Kurdish political elites who divided state resources between themselves. This political arrangement was in part smashed in June 2014 by the fall of Mosul in Northern Iraq to Islamic State, whose movement shook the political establishment and galvanised the support of an already disgruntled and marginalised population.

This event invites former Coalition Provisional Authority officials and experts to discuss the repercussions of the statebuilding project in Iraq.


HENRY HOGGER CMG -Former British diplomat who will discuss institution building in Iraq at the time of the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA).

ANDREW ALDERSON - Director of Economic planning and Development for the Coalition provisional Authority (CPA) South in Basra. Andrew will present on his experiences in Iraq, and is the author of ‘Bankrolling Basra’.

PAUL ATTENBOROUGH - A former member of the CPA (South) - he was tasked with looking after the State Owned Enterprise assets in the four Governorates of Southern Iraq. He will discuss some of the aspects of the post-invasion management of the industrial and manufacturing economy and the impact of an ideology on post-conflict reconstruction.

Dr HUSAIN al CHALABI - Currently working as a Fellow of the Iraq Energy Institute which advises the Iraqi Ministry of Oil. 
Dr Husain will dwell on his experiences in Iraq during the past few years and provide a much needed update on the relationship between the state system and the oil sector in Iraq.

MEHAIR KATHEM - At present Mehair is studying for a PhD at SOAS. His research explores externally led civil society development and the formation of Iraq’s domestic non-governmental sector from 2003. 



Diane Abbott MP - The Age of Intolerance: Fighting Racism, Antisemitism & Islamophobia


SOAS Students' Union Current Affairs Lecture Series:

The Age of Intolerance: The Fight Against Racism, Anti-Semitism and Islamophobia in an Era of Austerity with Diane Abbott MP.

Diane Abbott MP, one of London’s longest serving MPs who has campaigned against racism and discrimination in all its forms her entire adult life, is giving a speech about racism, anti-Semitism and Islamophobia at the School of African and Oriental Studies on Tuesday 25th November. Her speech is taking place against the backdrop of a surge in support for far-right parties across Europe and even in Britain as the nakedly anti-immigrant UK Independence Party is experiencing a growth in popularity. Diane will highlight how throughout history we always witness a rise in racism during troubled economic times but she will argue that the important thing is not to give way to xenophobia and bigotry but to come together to campaign against it.


Beyond Religion: ISIS and the Crisis in the Middle East

Talk from the speakers

Q&A Session


SOAS Students’ Union in association with the LMEI and the Centre for Gender Studies, SOAS

The first in a series of public lecturers SOAS Students’ Union will be hosting on the politics of the Middle East, Asia, Africa and the UK.

The event will give the SOAS community and members of the public the opportunity to listen to and engage with 3 speakers specialised in the Middle East who will all address ISIS and the recent crisis in the Middle East. 

Chair: Dr Hassan Hakimian, London Middle East Institute, SOAS

Ghias Aljundi : ‘ISIS and the Syrian cause’

The talk will discuss the emergence of ISIS in Syria and its expansion. It will also address the role of the Syrian regime and regional powers. Finally, the talk will also reflect on the damage ISIS has caused to the Syrian cause. 

Charles Tripp: 'Iraq: the rentier caliphate' 

The talk will address the political economy of Iraq in which it emerged and how it reflects many features of that political economy. This is intended as an antidote to the focus on religiosity, ideology and identity that has largely been framed in the terms set by Da`ash itself.

Nadje Al-Ali: Gender, Violence and Minorities 

The talk will address the issue of gender-based violence and violence against religious and ethnic minorities in the context of Da’ash (ISIS) in Iraq. It will also reflect on the difficulty to talk about women and minorities in a context where sexual violence is being instrumentalised by both sectarian and imperialist agendas. 

Speakers’ bios:

Ghias Aljundi is a Syrian writer and human rights activist who has been living in London for the past 15 years. Ghias has worked as a freelance journalist and has written for several Arabic newspapers, including al-Safir in Beirut. He took part in the Write to Life project, a creative writing programme for torture victims and survivors. He writes poetry and short stories and has written a play that was performed in London. He has been working on freedom of expression campaigns in the MENA region since 2001. 

Charles Tripp is Professor of Politics with reference to the Middle East, at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London and a Fellow of the British Academy. His research interests include the nature of autocracy, state and resistance in the Middle East, the politics of Islamic identity and the relationship between art and power. His most recent book is The Power and the People: Paths of Resistance in the Middle East (Cambridge University Press, 2013). He is presently working on a project on the emergence of the public and the rethinking of republican ideals across the states of North Africa.

Nadje Al-Ali is Professor of Gender Studies at SOAS, University of London. She has published widely on women and gender in the Middle East as well as transnational migration and diaspora mobilization. Her most recent book (co-edited with Deborah al-Najjar) is entitled We are Iraqis: Aesthetics & Politics in a Time of War (Syracuse University Press). Professor Al-Ali is a member of the Feminist Review Collective and a founding member of Act Together: Women’s Action for Iraq. 

Hassan Hakimian is director of the London Middle East Institute (LMEI) and a reader in the economics department at SOAS, University of London. He has researched and published widely on Middle Eastern economies with reference to Iran as well as human resources and labour markets in the Middle East.

This webpage was last updated on: 22 Apr 2015 15:19