April Programs

     The aim of the series is to encourage cross-cultural understanding of the Muslim world.  One of the many false assumptions associated with the Muslim world is a long-held view that the Muslim world
is by nature resistant to change and democracy. This series of events challenges such essentialist views by bringing attention to the grassroots efforts that have been made by civil society actors to instigate change and attain a sense of justice in the Muslim world.  The growing protest movements and uprisings in some countries have made this subject matter particularly topical.
We hope that this program will serve to dispel existing stereotypes and serve to create a better understanding of the complexity and diversity that exist in most Muslim societies. All events are open
to the public and free of charge.

Organized By:
Montclair State University’s Global Education Center, College of the Arts, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Education and Human Services

Departments of:
Art and Design, Broadcasting, Communication Studies, Educational Foundations, English, History, Modern Languages and Literatures, Philosophy and Religion, Political Science and Law, Theater and Dance

Tuesday, April 3   7:00 p.m. University Hall room 1040

Ahmed Ahmed headshot

Ahmed Ahmed

 

Film Screening and Discussion: Just Like Us (2011) Just Like Us movie poster

Director and renowned comedian Ahmed Ahmed will screen and discuss his film Just Like Us. Utilizing contemporary standup comedy as an international language, Ahmed Ahmed, in his directorial debut, joined a host of international stand-up comedians to introduce socially relevant issues in Dubai, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.

Wednesday, April 4 3:00 p.m.   University Hall Courtyard Lounge

 

Panel: Human Rights in Afghanistan- Student Perspectives

Montclair State University’s undergraduate Initiative to Educate Afghan Women scholarship students Makia Azizi, Shakila Haidari, Mursal Hamdam and Ruqia Karimi and Applied Linguistics graduate Fulbright scholarship student Gul Rasool will discuss their own perspectives on human rights, freedom of speech, and women’s rights in Afghanistan. Beth Calamia Scheckel (International Student Advisor, Montclair State University) will serve as moderator.

Thursday, April 5  2:30 p.m.  University Hall room 1020

Khaled Abu-Asbah headshot

Khaled Abu-Asbah

Awni El Faouri headshot

Awni El Faouri

Riad Nasser headshot

Riad Nasser

Panel: Creating a Civil Society though Education

Dr. Khaled Abu-Asbah (Education and Sociology, Beit Berl Academic College, and head of Van Leer Jerusalem Institute’s Strategy for the Advancement of Arab-Israeli Citizens, Israel), Dr. Awni El Faouri (Dean, International Institute for Teaching Arabic to Speakers of Other Languages, University of Jordan) and Dr. Riad Nasser (Sociology Department, Fairleigh Dickinson University) will discuss the educational system in the Middle East from the vantage point of their own experience and provide insight into the construction of a civil society for the 21st century. Mazooz Tawfiq Sehwail (Modern Languages and Literatures Department, Montclair State University) will serve as moderator.

Thursday, April 5 7:00 p.m.   University Hall room 1020

Khaled Abu-Asbah headshot

Khaled Abu-Asbah

Eyal Naveh headshot

Eyal Naveh

 

Panel: Teaching History, Cultural Narratives and Democratic Citizenship in the Israeli-Palestinian Context

Dr. Khaled Abu-Asbah (Education and Sociology, Beit Berl Academic College, and head of Van Leer Jerusalem Institute’s Strategy for the Advancement of Arab-Israeli Citizens, Israel) and Dr. Eyal Naveh (History Department, Tel Aviv University and Kibbutzim College of Education, Israel) and will discuss the teaching of history and the joint Palestinian-Israeli project of writing a high school history textbook that includes parallel narratives. They will consider the role that educators can play in bringing about reconciliation in the context of conflicts. Dr. Nimrod Aloni, (Philosophy of Education, Kibbutzim College of Education, Israel, and Visiting Scholar, Montclair State University) will serve as moderator.

Monday, April 9  2:30 p.m.        Cohen Lounge Dickson Hall

Irina Kuznetsova-Morenko headshot

Irina Kuznetsova-Morenko

Ali Mirsepassi headshot

Ali Mirsepassi

Bruce Rutherford headshot

Bruce Rutherford

Yahir Ibrahim headshot

Yahir Ibrahim

Panel: Secular and Religious Groups and their Impact on Democratization

Dr. Irina Kuznetsova-Morenko (Institute of Comparative Studies of Modernity, Kazan Federal University, Russia), Dr. Ali Mirsepassi (Middle Eastern Studies and Sociology, New York University) Dr. Bruce Rutherford (Political Science and Middle Eastern and Islamic Civilization Studies, Colgate University) and Yuksel Sezgin (John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York) will address the contributions of secular and religious groups to the debates since the spring 2011 uprisings regarding what constitutes “justice.” The panel will focus on relevant groups such as the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, Tunisia, and Libya. Dr. Yasir Ibrahim (Philosophy and Religion Department, Montclair State University) will serve as a moderator.

 Tuesday, April 10 6:00 p.m.        Cohen Lounge Dickson Hall

Hamid Abdeljaber headshot

Hamid Abdeljaber

Steve McCarthy headshot

Steve McCarthy

Nihal Saad headshot

Nihal Saad

Kamil Taha headshot

Kamil Taha

Panel: The Spark that Lit the Fire: The Free Press and Social Media in the Muslim World

The free press in the Middle East has been experiencing a revolution during the past 20 years, as seen in their role in the recent revolutions throughout the Muslim world. Dr. Hamid Siyam. The free press in the Middle East has been experiencing a revolution during the past 20 years, as seen in their role in the recent revolutions throughout the Muslim world. Dr. Hamid Siyam Abdeljaber (Center for Middle Eastern Studies, Rutgers University), Steve McCarthy (Communications Studies Department, Montclair State University and news producer and documentary film maker), Nihal Saad (Egyptian journalist) and Dr. Kamel Taha (former Senior Executive Producer, United Nations Television, New York), and will address the role of the press and social media. Mazooz Tawfiq Sehwail (Modern Languages and Literatures Department, Montclair State University) will serve as moderator.

Wednesday, April 11 7:00 p.m.        Cohen Lounge Dickson Hall 

William Burke-White headshot

William Burke-White

Hossein Hafezian headshot

Hossein Hafezian

Hans Wechsel headshot

Hans Wechsel

Panel: Connections and Interactions: Are International Organizations and Muslim NGOs Helping the Cause of Justice?

Dr. William Burke-White (Deputy Dean and Professor of Law, University of Pennsylvania), Dr. Hossein Hafezian (Visiting Scholar, Political Science and Law Department, Montclair State University) and Hans Wechsel (U.S. Department of State and Former Director of Middle East Partnership Initiative, Abu Dhabi Regional Office) will explore the interactions between the international organizations and NGOs in Muslim countries, and how Muslim countries view these connections. Dr. Thomas Keenan (Comparative Literature and Human Rights Project, Bard College) will serve as moderator.

Thursday, April 12  3:00 p.m.        Cohen Lounge Dickson Hall

Kazim Ali headshot

Kazim Ali

 

Poetry Reading and Discussion: Poetry is Dangerous

Kazim Ali (Professor, Creative Writing, Oberlin College), will present some of his poems and discuss the importance of poetry in the Muslim world.

Wednesday, April 18 1:30 p.m.        Student Center room 419

Neda Soltani headshot

Neda Soltani

Lecture: My Stolen Face: The Story of a Dramatic Mix-Up

Neda Soltani (former faculty member, Islamic Azad University, Tehran and visiting scholar, Montclair State University) will discuss her book, a memoir of growing up in Iran. Currently an Institute of International Education fellow, Neda Soltani will discuss the stifling, age-old Iranian path toward democracy, which brought about the 1979 Islamic Revolution, eventually culminating in a theocratic dictatorship. Soltani is one of the hundreds of Iranians who were forced into a life of exile after the disputed 2009 Presidential election in Iran

Wednesday, April 18 7:00 p.m.        Cohen Lounge Dickson Hall 

Henrick Melius headshot

Henrick Melius

Muhamed Sacirbey headshot

Muhamed Sacirbey

Peter Yarrow headshot

Peter Yarrow

Ahmad Sarmast headshot

Ahmad Sarmast

Panel: The Arts and Culture as Forces in Social Change

Henrik Melius (Director of Spiritus Mundi), Muhamed Sacirbey (Bosnia’s former Foreign Minister and Ambassador to the United Nations, producer of U2 concert in Bosnia), Dr. Ahmad Sarmast founder of Afghani National Institute of Music (Music Advisor and Project Director, Ministry of Education, Afghanistan) and Peter Yarrow (activist and folk legend, Peter, Paul and Mary) will explore the role that music can play in breaking down social, ethnic, and religious barriers, and its use as a coalescing force for bringing about social change and mutual respect. Dr. David Sanders (Broadcasting Department, Montclair State University) will serve as moderator.
Tuesday, April 24  7:30 p.m.            Fox Theater Play Reading and Discussion: 10 Acrobats in an Amazing Leap of Faith (2005)

A play by Yussef El Guindi El Guindi’s 10 Acrobats focuses on the contemporary personal dynamics in Arab- American immigrant families in a post September 11th political climate. Generational conflicts, the issues of accommodating to western culture, the loss of faith, arranged marriages and sexual identity are issues portrayed through the witty and compassionate script, directed by Susan Kerner and introduced by Jane Peterson (both Theater and Dance Department, Montclair State University). Peterson will lead a post-performance discussion, scheduled to commence directly after the completion of the reading.

Wednesday, April 25 3:30 p.m.     Student Center room 419

David Harris headshot

David Harris

Lecture: Racial Profiling in America: The Impact on the Muslim Community

David Harris (School of Law, University of Pittsburgh), nationally recognized as the leading authority on racial profiling, will critically ana- lyze the pros and cons of U.S. intelligence policies and discuss how the use of profiling affects our ability to gather the intelligence that is essential for our safety against terrorist attacks. Harris’s personal accomplishments and individual research will serve as a platform that will allow him to explore these issues in great detail and reference his developed study of racial profiling by law enforcement, which has been elevated it to an issue of national significance.