“The Trojan Women,” a tragedy by the ancient Greek playwright Euripides, depicts the plight of the wives and daughters of Troy, who await their fates after the Greek army has destroyed their city and slaughtered their men.
An all-female production of playwright Ellen McLaughlin’s adaptation of the classical play, which opened June 23 at the Yale Summer Cabaret, brings Euripides’ lamentation of war into the present day. The refugees of Troy become refugees of Aleppo, the Syrian city besieged and decimated during years of brutal civil war.
Shadi Ghaheri, the play’s director, said that while the politics of ancient Troy differ from the politics of modern Syria, the same cruelty and injustice portrayed in Euripides is borne by the hundreds of thousands of women and children who have been killed, maimed, or displaced during the ongoing Syrian war.
Researchers from Yale University, together with partners at universities in Canada, Jordan, and the United Kingdom, have developed a brief and reliable survey tool to measure resilience in children and adolescents who have been displaced by the brutal conflict in Syria.
Over 5 million people have been forced to flee the six-year-old conflict in Syria, and over 650,000 Syrians are now rebuilding their lives in neighboring Jordan. Building resilience in people affected by war is a priority for humanitarian workers, but there is no established measure that could help assess the strengths that young people in the Middle East have in adversity. This makes it difficult to assess the nature of resilience and to track changes over time.
Nearly four decades ago, in the Khabur River basin of northeastern Syria, Yale archaeologist Harvey Weiss uncovered a buried city that over the ensuing years would reveal important new insights into ancient Mesopotamia and the origins of civilization.
Beginning in 1979, Weiss’s excavation of the site known as Tell Leilan yielded ancient monumental temples containing cuneiform clay tablets kept by the rulers of the city, and more recently a 4,200-year-old palace, once a key center for the lost Akkadian empire. Within these mud-brick buildings researchers also retrieved carbonized grains and animal bones, traces of daily life that offered a glimpse of how this ancient civilization fed itself — and, as Weiss has long argued, evidence of the surprising role of climate change in its ultimate collapse.
Investors are in the business of navigating risk and reward. Assessing timing, market conditions, competition, and impacts of technological changes is always a challenge. For those investing in the Middle East, you can add war, political turmoil, and swings in the price of oil. Can assessments of a leadership team or projected earnings hold up when uncontrollable external factors have so much power to make or break a business?
For a time, investors were finding more and more reasons to invest in the region. Foreign investment in the Middle East and North Africa grew more than tenfold, from $8 billion to $126 billion, between 2001 and 2007, according to World Bank data. Then the financial crisis devastated cross-border investing around the world. By 2011 other developing regions had recovered, surpassing previous peak investment inflows—but just as the investing environment improved, the Arab Spring swept across the Middle East, bringing a new wave of uncertainty. By 2015, foreign direct investment had fallen to $51 billion.
Hani Al-Qadi, CEO and general manager of the Amman-based Arab Jordan Investment Bank, discussed his approach to investing in challenging environments in a conversation with Yale Insights. A veteran of more than a quarter century of investment banking in the Middle East, he recommends selecting deals that are fundamentally strong and then requiring enough of a risk premium to be able to ignore the external uncertainties. For those willing to invest for the long term, he’s seen “phenomenal” returns.