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Johns Hopkins SAIS Middle East expert available to discuss protests in Lebanon as economic and environmental crises spark mass demonstrations

Multi-city protests erupted Thursday, October 17 in Lebanon in response to longstanding dissatisfaction with the government, recently manifest in frustration over a currency crisis, uncontrollable wildfires, and a proposal to tax digital calling through apps such as WhatsApp. Dr. Sarah Parkinson, Aronson Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), has deep, field-based experience in Lebanon and the surrounding region. Since demonstrations began Thursday, reporting has been slow to reach international audiences due to a media focus on the conflict in Northern Syria. Parkinson is available to discuss current conditions in Lebanon and factors driving unrest, including:

  • Demonstrators' forceful demands for the government’s resignation and systemic reform.
  • How broad participation across classes, sects, regions, and generations indicates the makings of a durable movement
  • How these protests relate to the 2015 garbage crisis and related “YouStink!” demonstrations
  • The use of social media and creative memes to spread word of the protests

Parkinson can also speak to latest developments in Northern Syria and the growing humanitarian crisis in Iraqi Kurdistan.
Faculty Bio
Dr. Sarah E. Parkinson is the Aronson Assistant Professor of Political Science and International Studies at Johns Hopkins University. Focused on the Middle East and North Africa, her research examines organizational behavior and social change in crisis with an emphasis on armed groups’ roles in society.  A proficient Arabic speaker, Parkinson has conducted extensive fieldwork in Iraq and Lebanon, spending two years living in Beirut while conducting immersive research in Palestinian refugee communities. More recently, she has pursued projects in Iraq on humanitarian response and on professional ethics in war zones. Parkinson has published articles on military organizations’ decision-making and internal dynamics, political violence, forced migration, humanitarianism, and gender in the Middle East. For more details, visit
Media Contact
Nate Thompson
Johns Hopkins SAIS
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About Johns Hopkins SAIS
Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) is a global institution that offers students an international perspective on today's critical issues. For 75 years, Johns Hopkins SAIS has produced great leaders, thinkers, and practitioners of international relations. Public leaders and private sector executives alike seek the counsel of the faculty, whose ideas and research inform and shape policy. Johns Hopkins SAIS offers a global perspective across three campus locations: Bologna, Italy; Nanjing, China; and Washington, D.C. The school's interdisciplinary curriculum is strongly rooted in the study of international economics, international relations, and regional studies, preparing students to address multifaceted challenges in the world today.
For more information, visit or on Twitter @SAISHopkins

Friday, October 18, 2019
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