Sa’ed Atshan

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Sa’ed Atshan is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies. In 2013, he received a PhD in Anthropology and Middle Eastern Studies from Harvard University.

Kathy Boccella reports (10 February 2017):

Sa’ed Atshan, an assistant professor in Peace and Conflict Studies at the elite Quaker college, had been invited to speak to Upper School students on Feb. 3. In a letter to parents Thursday, head of school Craig N. Sellers said teachers had invited Atshan because students were interested in learning more about the Middle East and “peaceful activism." Atshan, who graduated from Swarthmore, has a doctorate in anthropology and Middle Eastern studies from Harvard University. However, the choice of Atshan “raised concerns from some members of our community,” Sellers said, and the talk was canceled. According to pro-Israel websites, Atshan is a leader in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets companies supporting what it calls the occupation of Palestine.


Atshan, also an LGBTQ advocate, joined Swarthmore’s faculty in 2015. According to his biography, he taught courses in peace and justice, the Arab Spring and nonviolent strategic action, and gender, sexuality, and human rights in the Middle East at Tufts University before coming to Swarthmore. He also designed and taught courses at Harvard and Brown Universities on social movements in the Middle East and the Arab Spring, among other topics. He earned four Harvard excellence in undergraduate teaching awards.


She said she knows of Atshan, who attended Ramallah Friends Meeting School, which has produced a number of Palestinian academics and intellectuals. Quakers have been in that area since the late 1800s.

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