The Place to Find All Things Churchill
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The International Churchill Society

In association with the
Churchill Archives Centre 
and the
George Washington University Judaic Studies Program
presents

Churchill and the Making of the Middle East

The Cairo Conference One Hundred Years On

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In March 1921 Winston Churchill, as the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Colonies, chaired a conference in Cairo that was to have profound effects on the future of the region. Drawing on advice from TE Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) and Gertrude Bell, Churchill presided over the creation of modern day Iraq and Jordan and supported the expansion of the Jewish presence in Palestine. The conference was followed by a visit to several places in Palestine including Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.


Photo: Cairo Conference March 1921. Seated (front row): Field Marshal Lord Allenby, Winston Churchill and others. Standing: T. E. Lawrence, Major Hubert Young, Sir Herbert Samuel, Sir Percy Cox, Gertrude Bell, Ja'afar al'Askari, Air Marshal Sir Hugh Trenchard, Air Vice-Marshal Sir Geoffrey Salmond, Sir Sassoon Eskell and others.

By Unknown author - The letters of Gertrude Bell in two volumes.II, Ernest Benn, published 1927. p.590., Public Domain, Wikimedia Commons. 

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Lead support of this event is provided through the generosity of

LL&P Philanthropies.

THURSDAY 8 APRIL 2021

5-7pm London (BST)

12-2pm Washington/Toronto (EST)


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Event Moderator


Allen Packwood is the Director of the Churchill Archives Centre, home to the voluminous personal papers of Sir Winston Churchill, and a Fellow of Churchill College, Cambridge. He is a qualified archivist and the author of the book How Churchill Waged War (Pen & Sword, 2018).

In 2016 he was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for his services to archives and scholarship. He regularly gives public talks about the life and legacy of Sir Winston Churchill. He is a former Executive Director of ICS UK and is about to begin an important new international role for the Society.

George Washington University Judaic Studies Program

The George Washington University Judaic Studies Program is dedicated to excellence in academics, research and community building around Jewish culture. For more than four decades, our faculty and alumni have contributed to Jewish scholarship and advocacy in the United States and around the world. We invite students, scholars and visitors to explore our research collections, undergraduate and graduate degree programs and news and events to learn more about the latest developments in Judaic studies. Find out more.

Event Panel

Churchill and the Making of the Middle East

The Cairo Conference One Hundred Years On

Thursday 8 April, 17:00 London (BST)


Warren Dockter is a graduate of the University of Tennessee and gained his PhD at the University of Nottingham. His book Churchill and the Islamic World: Orientalism, Empire and Diplomacy in the Middle East (2015) challenged notions surrounding Winston Churchill's Islamophobia. According to Dockter, Churchill's often quoted criticism of Islam was written during a time of a fundamentalist revolt in Sudan and this statement does not reflect his full views of Islam as a religion, which were "often paradoxical and complex." He could be critical but at times "romanticized" the Islamic world; he exhibited great "respect, understanding and magnanimity." Churchill had a fascination of Islam and Islamic civilization. Winston Churchill's future sister-in-law expressed concerns about his fascination by stating, "[p]lease don't become converted to Islam; I have noticed in your disposition a tendency to orientalism." However, Dockter also asserted that Churchill "never seriously considered converting" to Islam.

Notably, Dockter worked with Boris Johnson as his research assistant for the book the Churchill Factor: How One Man made History.

Arie M. Dubnov is the Max Ticktin Chair of Israel Studies. Trained in Israel and the U.S., he is a historian of twentieth century Jewish and Israeli history, with emphasis on the history of political thought, the study of nationalism, decolonization and partition politics, and with a subsidiary interest in the history of Israeli popular culture. Prior to his arrival at GW, Dubnov taught at Stanford University and the University of Haifa. He was a G.L. Mosse Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a participant in the National History Center’s International Decolonization Seminar, and recipient of the Dorset Fellowship at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies and a was Visiting Scholar at Wolfson College, Oxford.

His publications include the intellectual biography Isaiah Berlin: The Journey of a Jewish Liberal (2012), and two edited volumes, Zionism – A View from the Outside (2010 [in Hebrew]), seeking to put Zionist history in a larger comparative trajectory, and Partitions: A Transnational History of Twentieth-century Territorial Separatism (2019, co-edited with Laura Robson), tracing the genealogy of the idea of partition in the British interwar Imperial context and reconstructing the cross-border links connecting partition plans in Ireland, Palestine/Israel and India/Pakistan. Additionally, he has published numerous articles in leading journals in the field, including Nations & Nationalism, Modern Intellectual History, The Leo Baeck Institute Year Book, Rethinking History, Jewish Social Studies, The Journal of Israeli History and more.

His current book research project, tentatively entitled Dreamers of the Third Empire/Temple, examines ties between Zionist and British imperial thinkers in interwar years and to uncover alternative, neglected federalist political schemes for the future of the region that were circulating at the time.

Dr Rob Johnson is the Director of the Changing Character of War (CCW) research centre at Oxford University  and a Senior Research Fellow of Pembroke College, Oxford. Rob’s research interests are how we conceive of armed conflicts and he has specialised on military and strategic thought, and the history of conflicts in South West Asia (‘The Middle East’). He is the author of a number of books on strategy and operations. He published Lawrence of Arabia on War (2020) to trace the evolution of T.E. Lawrence’s thinking and hitherto he wrote The Great War and the Middle East: A Strategic Study on its context. He is the co-editor of a collection with a similar title (2019) and wrote an article for Middle Eastern Studies entitled The de Bunsen Committee and a revision of the ‘conspiracy’ of Sykes–Picot available here. He is the author of The Iraq Revolt, 1920 in John Wilson, (ed), British Army Campaign Guide to the Forgotten Fronts of The First World War (London, 2017) and the forthcoming Air Power and United States’ Iraq Wars in Dennis Showalter and Kaushik Roy, (eds.) Warfare in Asia (Oxford University Press, 2021). He has written on more recent conflicts, including the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

Contact Details: [email protected] 

Dr Liora Lukitz
Dr. Liora Lukitz , a H.F. Guggenheim research fellow at the CMES, Harvard also developed a program for the study of the Middle East through technology at Braude and Afeka Colleges of High Engineering in Israel. She is the author of A Quest in the Middle East: Gertrude Bell and The Making of Modern Iraq (2006) and, recently, of Certainties and Uncertainties in Gertrude Bell’s Many Lives
Ian Kikuchi is a senior curator at Imperial War Museums (IWM). He began working as an assistant curator in the museum's film archive in 2007. He later worked on exhibitions including the First World War Galleries (2011-2014), Blitzed Brits (2015), Real to Reel: A Century of War Movies (2016) and Churchill and the Middle East (2017).


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'The Cairo Conference discussions on Palestine and Transjordan were at an end. In three days, two new Arab States had been created, their sovereigns chosen, and part of the Zionist case lost by default.'

— Sir Martin Gilbert, Official Biographer of Sir Winston Churchill , Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment, 1916–1922  (Volume IV)

Sir Martin Gilbert
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Churchill Archives Centre, Cambridge

GW Judaic Studies Program

Gilbert, Martin. Winston S. Churchill: World in Torment, 1916–1922 (Volume IV)

sir winston churchill

‘I expatiated on the virtues and experience of Sir Herbert Samuel,’ he wrote, ‘and pointed out how evenly he was holding the balance between Arabs and Jews and how effectively he was restraining his own people, as perhaps only a Jewish administrator could do.’

Mr and Mrs Winston Churchill,

Mr and Mrs Winston Churchill, Secretary of State for the Colonies, at Government House in Jerusalem with Emir Abdullah of Transjordan and Zionist leader, Sir Herbert Samuel. March 28, 1921.

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The Journal of Winston Churchill

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Join Us for the

2021 Virtual Churchill Conference

8-10 October 2021

Join us for our 38th International Churchill Conference, Churchill and Freedom, with special guest Arnold Schwarzenegger, the 38th Governor of California. 


Th online portions of this event is FREE of charge but you must register.


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WinstonChurchill.org

The International Churchill Society (ICS), founded in 1968 shortly after Churchill's death, is the world’s preeminent member organisation dedicated to preserving the historic legacy of Sir Winston Churchill.

At a time when leadership is challenged at every turn, that legacy looms larger and remains more relevant than ever.