Earlier this month, the University of Central Florida announced the long-awaited appointment of the inaugural holder of the Jalal Talabani Kurdish Political Studies Endowed Chair — the first of its kind in the United States.
The newly appointed chair, Güneş Murat Tezcür, Ph.D, will help UCF expand its Kurdish Political Studies program, which examines the Kurds and Kurdistan in an interdisciplinary manner, but with a primary focus on politics.
Kurdish Political Studies
The Kurdish Political Studies program was initially established as an initiative at UCF in 2008. The initiative was spurred by a $1 million donation led by Dr. Najmaldin Karim, a neurosurgeon, who was the previous president of the Washington Kurdish Institute, and currently serves as Governor of the Kirkuk Governorate in the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq.
The UCF Kurdish Political Studies program was formalized in 2014 and is dedicated to sponsoring or co-sponsoring public discussions involving high-profile speakers, organizing conferences and other meetings, supporting scholarship and research, and working with partners internationally to broaden knowledge and understanding about the Kurds and Kurdistan.
Güneş Murat Tezcür, Ph.D
Dr. Tezcür studies political violence, identity and movements. Dr. Tezcür’s research has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, the United States Institute of Peace and the Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation.
In addition to English, he conducts his research in Kurdish, Persian and Turkish. He also serves on the editorial board of the International Journal of Middle East Studies. In contemplating the role of the Chair, Dr. Tezcür said,
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I am honored to have been appointed. Kurdish aspirations for greater rights and power have the potential to remake the Middle East – with global implications. I am very much looking forward to this unique opportunity to advance public interest in– and scholarly studies of– Kurdish politics in the United States and beyond.”