Cultural scholar to present at Cabrini

By Ashley Weyler
October 7, 2004

A visiting professor from the North African country of Tunisia hopes to dispel stereotypes and promote understanding between his Islamic country and western views.

Dr. Iben Rhaiem, a Tunisian professor of American studies at the University of Sfax, said, “I want to tell them that if ever our religions agree on one thing, it should be the condemnation of the killing of the innocent civilians regardless of their religious and cultural affiliations.”

Dr. Jeremy Rich, Dr. Jonnie Guerra, Barbara Sheehan of Arcadia, and Mark Lazenby of Gwynedd-Mercy wrote a grant to the Institute of International Education. The Institute promotes exchange programs for professors.

Rhaiem has studied in Tunisia at Manouba University, where he also received his masters, in Anglo-American Studies and at Brighten University in England. In 1997, he received a one-year Fulbright scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh.

Rhaiem has been teaching at the University of Sfax, Tunisia, since 1998. There, he teaches American studies topics such as United States history and civilization. Mainly, he focuses on the United States foreign policy throughout the 20th century.

Rich says they chose Rhaiem because he teaches American studies in Tunisia, and he has an interesting perspective on what Americans think of the turmoil in the Middle East.

Rhaiem will visit Cabrini and several other colleges in the area from Oct. 18 to Oct. 29. Some things that Rhaiem will be doing during his visit are speaking in professor Cathy Yungmann and professor Ruby Remley’s classes, speaking to human-rights groups in Philadelphia, and give a workshop to faculty members on Monday, Oct. 25. The workshop is designed to help faculty members, regardless of what department they are apart of, to introduce the Middle East in discussion for class.

“I feel very excited about this upcoming mission. I say ‘mission’ because I believe that I am going on a noble task to promote a mutual and a better understanding between my own culture and yours, to dispel some cultural stereotypes about each other, and most importantly of all, to argue that there is no need at all for a clash of civilizations between the Muslim world and the West,” Rhaiem said.

Rhaiem will be giving a presentation to the entire Cabrini Community on Wednesday, Oct. 20th, at 7 p.m. in Widener Lecture Hall on topics of politics, the war in Iraq and learning how to communicate between the Middle East and the United States.

Posted to the Web by Lori Iannella

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Ashley Weyler

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