"Gulf Ascending: The Rising Profile of Iran and the Arab Gulf States in the Middle East"

RADM Harold J Bernsen USN (Ret)
Professor Debra Shushan

Thursday May 25th, 2017

We would like to thank the Norfolk Arts and Humanities Commission for a grant in support of this event and the Slover Library Foundation for their support.  


  1. Why attend
    Persian Gulf states are increasingly central to understanding the broader Middle East and the dilemmas facing US policymakers. Come learn about and discuss the key issues and players in our first ever Lunch&Learn!
  2. The topic
    The Iran nuclear agreement was signed in 2015, implemented in January 2016, and continues in force. Has it achieved its goals? The oil-rich Gulf states have moved to counter Iranian influence and fill the power vacuum left by the decline of traditional Arab powers. What do we need to know about the rise of Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and fellow members of the Gulf Cooperation Council?


  1. RADM Harold J Bernsen USN (Ret)
    RADM Harold J Bernsen USN (Ret)
    Rear Admiral Harold Bernsen, a graduate of Dartmouth College and a naval aviator, retired from active duty in December 1991 after 33 ½ years of service. From 1986 to 1988, during the height of the “Tanker War” with Iran he served as Commander Middle East Force, forerunner of today’s Fifth Fleet, home ported in Bahrain. Since leaving the service he has made over thirty trips to the Middle East region as a civilian businessman and consultant.
  2. Professor Debra Shushan
    Professor Debra Shushan
    Debra Shushan (PhD, Yale) is Assistant Professor of Government at the College of William and Mary since 2007. She is a member of the faculties of interdisciplinary programs in International Relations and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies. Shushan's research focuses on the international relations of the Middle East, with emphases on Arab foreign policy decision-making; foreign aid; the Arab Gulf states; multilateralism, regional, and international organizations; and the Palestine-Israel conflict. More information on her publications and current research can be found here. Professor Shushan's course offerings include Govt 339 Middle East Political Systems, Govt 439 Arab Foreign Policy, and Govt 203 Intro to Comparative Politics. Professor Shushan received a bachelor's degree, summa cum laude, in Government from Harvard University, an MPhil in International Relations from Oxford University, and an MA, MPhil, and PhD in Political Science from Yale University. Shushan is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, and recipient of the Marshall Scholarship, the Truman Scholarship, and the Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation. In 2010-11, Professor Shushan was a fellow at the Center for International and Regional Studies at the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.


  1. THURS 5/25
    11.30: Program begins


Slover Library
235 E Plume St, Norfolk,
VA 23510