Sunday, January 30, 2011

An Open Letter to President Barack Obama
January 30, 2010

Dear President Obama:

As political scientists, historians, and researchers in related fields who have studied the Middle East and U.S. foreign policy, we the undersigned believe you have a chance to move beyond rhetoric to support the democratic movement sweeping over Egypt. As citizens, we expect our president to uphold those values.

For thirty years, our government has spent billions of dollars to help build and sustain the system the Egyptian people are now trying to dismantle. Tens if not hundreds of thousands of demonstrators in Egypt and around the world have spoken. We believe their message is bold and clear: Mubarak should resign from office and allow Egyptians to establish a new government free of his and his family’s influence. It is also clear to us that if you seek, as you said Friday “political, social, and economic reforms that meet the aspirations of the Egyptian people,” your administration should publicly acknowledge those reforms will not be advanced by Mubarak or any of his adjutants.

There is another lesson from this crisis, a lesson not for the Egyptian government but for our own. In order for the United States to stand with the Egyptian people it must approach Egypt through a framework of shared values and hopes, not the prism of geostrategy. On Friday you rightly said that “suppressing ideas never succeeds in making them go away.” For that reason we urge your administration to seize this chance, turn away from the policies that brought us here, and embark on a new course toward peace, democracy and prosperity for the people of the Middle East. And we call on you to undertake a comprehensive review of US foreign policy on the major grievances voiced by the democratic opposition in Egypt and all other societies of the region.  


Jason Brownlee, University of Texas at Austin

Joshua Stacher, Kent State University

Tamir Moustafa, Simon Fraser University

Arang Keshavarzian, New York University

Clement Henry, University of Texas at Austin

Robert Springborg, Naval Postgraduate School

Jillian Schwedler, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Noam Chomsky, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Chris Toensing, Middle East Research and Information Project
Joel Beinin, Stanford University

Ellen Lust, Yale University

Tarek Massoud, Harvard University
Amaney Jamal, Princeton University
Helga Tawil-Souri, New York University

Anne Mariel Peters, Wesleyan College

Gregory White, Smith College

Asef Bayat, University of Illinois

Diane Singerman, American University

Cathy Lisa Schneider, American University

Robert Vitalis, University of Pennsylvania

Ahmet T. Kuru San Diego State University

Toby Jones, Rutgers University

Lara Deeb, Scripps College

Michaelle Browers, Wake Forest University

Mark Gasiorowski, Louisiana State University

Samer Shehata, Georgetown University

Farideh Farhi, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa

Emad Shahin, University of Notre Dame

John P. Entelis, Fordham University

Tamara Sonn, College of William & Mary

Ali Mirsepassi, New York University

Kumru Toktamis, Pratt Institute

Rebecca C. Johnson, Northwestern University

Nader Hashemi, University of Denver

Carlene J. Edie, University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Laryssa Chomiak, University of Maryland

Mohamed Nimer, American University

Steven Heydemann, Georgetown University

Miriam Lowi, The College of New Jersey

Wendy Pearlman, Northwestern University

Hesham Sallam, Georgetown University

Melani Cammett, Brown University

Michael Robbins, University of Michigan

Katherine E. Hoffman, Northwestern University

Asli Bali, UCLA School of Law

Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University

Guilain Denoeux, Colby College

Tom Farer, University of Denver

Norma Claire Moruzzi, University of Illinois at Chicago

Saad Eddin Ibrahim, American University of Cairo & Drew University

Asma Barlas, Ithaca College

Ethel Brooks, Rutgers University

Maren Milligan, Oberlin College

Alan Gilbert, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver

Glenn Robinson, Naval Postgraduate School

Ahmed Ragab, Harvard University

Kenneth M. Cuno, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Agnieszka Paczynska, George Mason University

Zillah Eisenstein, Ithaca College

Quinn Mecham, Middlebury College

Riahi Hamida, Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences Sousse Tunisia

Jeannie Sowers, University of New Hampshire

Hussein Banai, Brown University

Joel Gordon, University of Arkansas-Fayetteville

Ed Webb, Dickinson College

David Siddhartha Patel, Cornell University

Bassam Haddad, George Mason University
Thomas Pierret, Princeton University

Nadine Naber, University of Michigan

As`ad AbuKhalil, California State University at Stanislaus

Dina Al-Kassim, University of California at Irvine

Ziad Fahmy, Cornell University

William B. Quandt, University of Virginia

Lori A. Allen, University of Cambridge

Eugene Sensenig-Dabbous, Notre Dame University Lebanon

Alfred G. Gerteiny, University of Connecticut (ret.)

Lucia Volk, San Francisco State University

Anne Marie Baylouny, Naval Postgraduate School

Ulrika Mårtensson, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology

Emma Deputy, University of Texas at Austin

Sherry Lowrance, University of Georgia

Kaveh Ehsani, DePaul University

Ebrahim Moosa, Duke University

Benjamin N. Schiff, Oberlin College

Jeff Goodwin, New York University

Margaret Scott, New York University (adjunct)

Mehrzad Boroujerdi, Syracuse University

Kevin M. DeJesus, York University, Toronto

Courtney C. Radsch, American University

Gamze Cavdar, Colorado State University

John F. Robertson, Central Michigan University
Amir Niknejad, College of Mount Saint Vincent
Mehdi Noorbaksh, Harrisburg University of Science and Technology
Anthony Tirado Chase, Occidental College
Russell E. Lucas, Florida International University
Ariel Saizmann, Queen’s University
Patrick Kane, Clatsop Community College
Behrooz Moazami, Loyola University New Orleans
Anthony Shenoda, Scripps College
Mark Allen Peterson, Miami University
Amel Ahmed, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Ilana Feldman, George Washington University
Marwan M. Kraidy, University of Pennsylvania
Mohamad Daadaoui, Oklahoma City University
Sidney Tarrow, Cornell University
Nathalie Peutz, New York University Abu Dhabi
Kamran Rastegar, Tufts University
Najib Ghadbian, University of Arkansas
Mojtaba Mahdavi, University of Alberta, Canada
Stefanie Nanes, Hofstra University
Rochelle Davis, Georgetown University
Zeinab Abul-Magd, Oberlin College
Stephen Zunes, University of San Francisco
Andrea Teti, University of Aberdeen
Denise M. Walsh, University of Virginia
Frances S. Hasso, Duke University
Waad El Hadidy, New York University
Elliot Colla, Georgetown University
Monika Halkort, Queen’s University
Sonia Alvarez, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Christa Salamandra, City University of New York
Shirin Saeidi, Cambridge University
Shiera Malik, DePaul University
Steve Tamari, Southern Illinois University
Sean Yom, Temple University
Ali Banuazizi, Boston College
Sinan Antoon, New York University
Moustafa Bayoumi, City University of New York
Jennifer Derr, Bard College
Mirjam Künkler, Princeton University Wilson
Jacob, Concordia University, Montreal
Alan Mikhail, Yale University
Narges Erami, Yale University
Gwenn Okruhlik, Trinity University
Pete Moore, Case Western Reserve University
Max Weiss, Princeton University
Margaret Susan Thompson, Syracuse University
Sarah Shields, University of North Carolina
Sonia Alcarez, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Roberto Alejandro, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Manal Jamal, James Madison University
Justin Stearns, New York University at Abu Dhabi
Nicholas Xenos, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Rebecca Hopkins, University of Texas Austin
John Calvert, Creighton University
Nir Rosen, New York University
Ian Lustik, University of Pennsylvania
Steve Niva, The Evergreen State University
Michael C. Hudson, Georgetown University and National University of Singapore
Shane Minkin, Swarthmore College
Feisal Mohamed, University of Illinois
Ahmed Kamel Khattab, Free University Berlin
Benjamin Simuin, University of Utah
Stephen Engelmann, University of Illinois at Chicago
Stacy Fahrenthold, Northeastern University
Sondra Hale, UCLA
Nicole Watts, San Francisco State University
Stacey Philbrick Yadav, Hobart and William Smith Colleges
Alan Fisher, Michigan State University
Laurie King-Irani, Georgetown University
Gary Fields, UC San Diego
Curtis Ryan, Appalachian State University
Keelu Fahoum, Naval Postgraduate School
Steven Brooke, University of Texas Austin
Andrew Fibbert, Trinity College
Ted Swedenburg, University of Arkansas
John Womack Jr. Harvard University
Sayed Eisisi, University of Maryland
Louis Cristillo, Columbia University
David Waldner, University of Virginia
John Measor, St. Mary’s University

Institutional affiliations are listed for identification purposes only. Views reflected in this letter are those of the individual signatories.