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A website for K-12 educators featuring innovative resource on the culture, geography, history and religions of the Middle East, including essays, classroom activities, downloadable multimedia content and interactive Google Earth tours.


Interview with Kiren Aziz Chaudhry

© 2002 NITLE

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In this interview Kiren Aziz Chaudhry, from the Political Science department of UC Berkeley discusses economic issues in the Middle East from a historical perspective. She divides the economic situation in the modern Arab world into three periods: The period characterized by the modernization programs embarked on in the 50s and 60s by countries like Egypt, Iraq, Algeria and Syria; the oil boom of the 1970s and the resulting shift from agriculture to industry; and the period following the collapse of oil prices. Each period is analyzed in some detail, including issues such as labor migration, the balance of imports and exports, the level of state control of resources. She also compares the economies of the Arab World to each other, finding a regional distinction between the countries of the Maghreb and the Mashreq, as well as national distinctions between countries in both of these regions. Professor Chaudhry then discusses the overt militarization of Arab governments, the disillusionment with leftist ideologies and the turn toward religiously based ideologies. Other topics discussed include the impact of economic embargoes on Arab countries, the distinction between the Arab nations and the East Asian countries in terms of economic development, the role of women in the labor force, the effect of International Monetary Fund policies on national economies, and several other issues. This relatively short interview is an excellent introduction to economic issues in the region and the manner in which they affect political and even cultural developments. Students of history will also find this interview valuable in understanding historical developments of the period.

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