This course changed my perception of the modern Near East by opening my eyes to the external forces at play in the region. In the 1900s, the people of the Near East, both Jews and Muslims, were exploited by European powers in order for them to achieve their agenda; in modern times, it seems countries from every corner of the globe have a hand in the geopolitics of the Near East. It was especially troubling to learn how so many nations are using internal conflict to wage religious proxy wars against their enemies, often harming innocent civilians in the process. However, this course also inspired confidence in me that in the future, the Near East does not have to continue its legacy of bloodshed and instability. Agreements such as the Abraham Accords and the signing of the EastMed Gas Forum are encouraging signs of positive growth toward tolerance in this region.