Proposal and Application for Jordan Trip
In May 1980, I was introduced to Bishop Thomas Mar Makarios of the East Indian Orthodox Church. He had
just returned from his recurring journeys to the Middle East and had just also served as an advisor of Middle
East culture to the former President of the United States, Jimmy Carter. Almost immediately Bishop Makarios
impressed upon me the need for colleges and universities to develop and teach courses on Middle East
culture and Islam. The Iranian crisis and the rise to power of the Ayatollah Khomayni at that time served as a
catalyst to create much needed educational curriculums of the past and present Middle East. Bishop Thomas
Makarios initiated the teaching of Middle East culture at Medaille College through the decade of the 1980s.
The Middle East course was dropped from the curriculum during the 1990s due to a lack of interest on the
part of students. History is sometimes bookmarked by crises. My parent’s generation will always remember
Pearl Harbor. The baby-boomers still hotly debate who murdered President John F. Kennedy while other
generations focus on the disastrous Challenger explosion. Currently, all Americans have been deeply
affected by the events of September 11, 2001. The World Trade Center, the Pentagon, Flight 93 and the war
on terrorism have become emotional shibboleths in the American lexicon. Spectacular terrorism had finally
arrived on American continental soil along with nagging questions of how Americas will now share this small
and explosive planet with peoples of differing cultures. In part it is the responsibility of colleges and
universities to help foster an understanding between occidental and middle oriental cultures. One billion of 6
billion people in the world practice Islam. Islam has many similarities to Christianity and Judaism yet
suspicions between these great religious traditions is heightened during the current international political
crisis. Participation in the seminar on “Teaching about Islam and Middle Eastern Culture” will afford myself a
unique and challenging opportunity to enhance my current course at Medaille College on the history of
terrorism and introduce a new area of study centered on Middle East culture. Anticipated outcomes include,
but are not limited to: 1. Producing a bibliographic essay on the readings of Islam, the Holy Qur’an and
Islamic Non-Fiction, Fiction and Poetry, 2. Add a much needed section on Islamic studies to my existing
course at Medaille College on Terrorism and, Foreign Policy, 3. Introduce a newly developed course solely
on the history of Islam and Middle East Culture, 4. Offer my students in Western Civilization class an
opportunity to view the world though non western eyes, 5. Conduct non credit courses to adults in the Buffalo
metropolitan community, 6. Participate in sharing my knowledge through faculty forums.
It will be my pleasure and honor to be selected to participate in the seminar sponsored by the Council of
Independent Colleges on Islam and Middle East Culture. Dr. Timothy R. Dzierba
2004 Islam and Middle Eastern Culture
Council of American Overseas Research Centers, CIC, and U.S. Department of State Seminar: Teaching
About Islam and Middle Eastern Culture
The Council of Independent Colleges, and the Council of American Overseas Research Centers, with
support from the U.S. Department of State, are pleased to announce a three-week long seminar for faculty
members at CIC colleges and universities on Teaching About Islam and Middle Eastern Culture.
This is an excellent opportunity for full-time faculty members in all fields at CIC member institutions to learn
more about the Middle East at a time when knowledge and teaching about the region are more important
than ever. Intended for faculty members who are not already experts on this subject, the seminar will allow
participants to learn about the Middle East and to understand better the region, Islam, and Middle Eastern
history as it informs current times.
The seminar will take place January 3-24, 2004 at the American Center of Oriental Research (ACOR), in
Amman, Jordan, and will include visits to archaeological sites such as Petra and Jerash. Seminar participants
will also reside in ACOR.
Funder: U.S. Department of State
Program Status: Twelve CIC faculty members from all fields have been selected to participate. To view a
copy of the nomination guidelines, Click here (in PDF format).
Click here for Islam Seminar coverage in the Winter/Spring 2004 issue of the Independent.
B. Barnett Cochran, Mount Vernon Nazarene University (OH), Associate Professor, History
Timothy R. Dzierba, Medaille College (NY), Professor, History
Catherine Cymone Fourshey, Susquehanna University (PA), Assistant Professor, History
Mary Hendrickson, Wilson College (PA), Associate Professor, Political Science
Charles Herman, University of Sioux Falls (SD), Professor, History
Katherine Hoffman, Saint Anselm College (NH), Professor, Art History
Susanne Ursula Hofstra, Rhodes College (TN), Assistant Professor, Greek and Roman Studies
Ernest M. Limbo, Tougaloo College (MS), Assistant Professor, History
Edward Macierowski, Benedictine College (KS), Associate Professor, Philosophy
Nathan B. Rein, Ursinus College (PA), Assistant Professor, Religion
Sanford R. Silverburg, Catawba College (NC), Professor, Political Science
Craig S. Wansink, Virginia Wesleyan College (VA), Professor, Religious Studies
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