When Eckart Frahm, professor of Assyriology at Yale, received a call from Homeland Security with a request to come to New York to assess cuneiform tablets, he was intrigued by the opportunity to provide an assessment of the content and origins of these ancient artifacts.
Frahm, who is one of only a few hundred people worldwide who can accurately read cuneiform texts, was taken to an undisclosed location in the city, where he had about two and half days to study these texts in a warehouse in which they were being temporarily stored. Each tablet was about the size of a cell phone, and many were in a poor condition, with salt incrustations covering large portions of their surfaces.
The United States has spent billions of dollars in Afghanistan on economic interventions, such as job-training programs and direct cash payments, to counter violent extremism, but a new study casts doubt on the ability of these initiatives to reduce support for the Taliban or improve people’s economic condition.
The study, led by Yale political scientist Jason Lyall, is the first to test the effectiveness of economic aid programs in an active war zone. The researchers partnered with Mercy Corps, a global humanitarian and development organization, to evaluate a program that provided vocational training and unconditional cash payments to young men and women in Kandahar, Afghanistan’s second-largest city and the birthplace of the Taliban, where airstrikes, suicide bombings, and military operations occur regularly.
“We didn’t find any evidence to support the belief that insurgent support is driven by unemployment and poor job prospects,” said Lyall, associate professor of political science and director of Yale’s Political Violence FieldLab.
An international conference on the Middle East, featuring a keynote address by Salam Fayyad, former prime minister of the Palestinian Authority, will take place at Yale on Friday and Saturday, April 20 and 21.
Titled “Amalna: Paving the Road Ahead,” the conference will be held in Rm. 114 of Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall, 1 Prospect St. It is organized by the Yale Arab Students Association and sponsored by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice President and Secretary for Student Life, the Poynter Fellowship in Journalism, Yale Council on Middle East Studies, the Jackson Institute for Global Affairs, Yale College Council, and the Office of International Students and Scholars.
A new study exploring Jordanian women’s exposure to neglect and verbal abuse found that 32% reported neglect during their childbirth, and 37% were victims of verbal abuse. The study is the first to report the prevalence of neglect and verbal abuse among child birthing women in Jordan.
“Women’s relationship with health care providers during childbirth significantly impacts her physical, psychological, and emotional health,” said Kaveh Khoshnood, Ph.D., associate professor at the Yale School of Public Health and a co-author on the study.
The research team interviewed 390 women for the study. The findings are published in the journal Midwifery.
“Popular Music & Society in Iran: New Directions,” a two-day symposium examining the social and political significance of music in Iran, will take place at Yale University on Jan. 26-27.
“The political and sociological study of music in contemporary Iran is a growing field, and this event is the first of its kind to bring together researchers and academics working on the topic,” said symposium organizer Nahid Siamdoust, a postdoctoral associate and lecturer in Iranian studies at the Council on Middle East Studies at the MacMillan Center at Yale. “Our goal is to incorporate perspectives from musicians, recognizing the importance of including their voices in academic research on the subject.”