Tag: Center for Middle East Studies

‘New Feminist Voices in Islam’ is Jordanian scholar’s topic Oct. 18

A presentation by a Jordanian-born scholar on ‘New Feminist Voices in Islam’ will be the first public lecture offered through the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay’s new Center for Middle East Studies and Partnerships.

Ibtesam Al Atiyat, a former visiting scholar at UW-Green Bay and now an assistant professor of sociology at St. Olaf College, will speak at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18. Her talk, free and open to the public, will take place in the 1965 Room of the University Union on the campus at 2420 Nicolet Drive. A reception will follow.

Lecture by Prof. Ibtesam Al Atiyat, Oct. 18Al Atiyat’s lecture will tackle Islamic-feminist approaches to the liberation of women, and summarize the arguments debated within this newly emerging approach. She will discuss new Islamic feminist readings as well as selected chapters of the Quran, events in Muslim history, and cultural practices often associated with Islam. The presentation will also consider how the approach to women’s rights issues, even when goals are similar, can vary depending on the perspective, whether Islamic-feminist or traditional western feminism.

Al Atiyat received her Ph.D. from the Freie University, Berlin. She is a former program officer for the Jordanian National Commission for Women, and taught previously at the University of Jordan and the German-Jordanian University. During the 2005-2006 academic year she was a Fulbright Scholar-in-residence at UW-Green Bay.

Campus co-sponsors of her visit include the Center for History and Social Change. The primary sponsor, the Center for Middle East Studies and Partnerships, was founded in 2010 to bring together existing academic programs as well as overseas activities, all to provide an academic focus upon one of the world’s most compelling regions. The Center assists and helps promote Arabic language courses, and serves as a resource for the infusion of greater Middle Eastern content into pre-existing courses. In conjunction with the Office of International Education, it helps build and maintain ties to academic institutions in the Middle East, particularly the University of Jordan, and fosters exchanges, trips and partnerships bringing the Green Bay community greater ties to the region.


Middle East travelers report busy first week

Prof. David Coury, Humanistic Studies, shipped home an email Monday (July 12) from the nation of Jordan, where he’s helping lead a Wisconsin delegation that is spending a month abroad on a Fulbright-Hays grant. Continue reading

Video: Learning Arabic at UW-Green Bay

Lately, the conversation inside the Common Grounds coffeehouse is a little foreign to most people on the UW-Green Bay campus. Twice a week, for about an hour, this group of students, staff and faculty get together for an Arabic conversation group.

“I wanted to take Arabic because I wanted to feel what it was like to learn to read,” said Sherry Lacenski, assistant director of the Phoenix Bookstore. “I couldn’t do that in a language that used the Latin alphabet.”

Lacenski is what you may call the lead instructor of this informal group. She fell in love with the language three years ago.

“When you start learning Arabic, it is like nonsense syllables,” Lacenski said.

Her counterpart is student Jeremy Wildenberg.

“With Arabic, everything is completely foreign,” Wildenberg said. “It’s like learning language from birth again. It’s definitely a challenge.”

Wildenberg spent 14 years as an Arabic and Russian linguist in the Army. This fall he will help teach an Arabic language course on campus. In July, Wildenberg will be part of a group traveling to Jordan for a month.

“Any time you travel to a foreign country, you want to be up to speed on their customs and courtesies and it shows a great deal of respect that you at least made an attempt to learn the language,” he said.

Humanistic Studies professor Heidi Sherman and Social Work professor Jolanda Sallmann are learning a little Arabic before going on the trip. They say they’re hoping to share what they learn with students down the road.

“Just the opportunity to go there, learn about a different culture, learn part of the language and work to develop those collaborative relationships is something I was really interested in doing,” Sallmann said,

“I teach a course on medieval Islamic civilization and I hope to kind of bring what I gain from the experience to that class,” Sherman added.

One of Sherman’s students is also going on the trip to Jordan.

“People ask me why did I want to study Arabic. They’re like, why would you want to study that? Why not? It’s a chance to learn something that’s different,” said student Cory Miller.

The trip to Jordan is in preparation for the new Center for Middle East Studies and Partnerships.

“The new center is a unique thing for Green Bay, especially with the focus on the Middle East,” said Jay Harris, international projects coordinator for UW-Green Bay.

“Having people like this in Jordan for a month, meeting counterparts, will help us develop opportunities and possibilities that couldn’t be imagined a year ago,” Harris said.

Those involved say it will go a long way towards making the campus and the community a better place.

“The demographics of Northeastern Wisconsin are changing. I think every place you go you can see the influence of different cultures,” Sallmann said. “I think just to make Northeast Wisconsin as inclusive and respectful of diversity as possible. And I think the Center is a great first step in that direction in terms of welcomeness.”

Today’s feature: Student, a military vet, teaches Arabic to teachers

UW-Green Bay’s new Center for Middle East Studies and Partnerships, announced this week, is getting a boost from Jeremy Wildenberg, a first-year student who serves as a reminder that non-traditional students often bring a knowledge that adds to the academic experience. In his case, he’s teaching Arabic to UW-Green Bay educators. Wildenberg, age 35, a Little Chute native, spent 14 years in the U.S. Army as a linguistics expert. Among his students nowadays are members of the UW-Green Bay faculty and staff involved with the establishment of the new Center. Neat story.