Opinion

UM needs a Middle Eastern Studies program

In the fall of 1990, while I was deployed to the Persian Gulf emirate of Bahrain as part of the military build-up for the Persian Gulf War, I saw a poster on the wall of the mess hall advertising a seminar to be held one evening that week. The seminar was simply titled, “The True Meaning of Jihad.” I was immediately intrigued.

My view of the Middle East at that point was like that of most Americans. We viewed it as a region filled with perpetual tumult, populated by religious fanatics who wanted nothing more than to die for their religious faith. While considering whether to attend the seminar, I recalled my 1986 visit to the Soviet Union and how I had returned home with a better understanding of the people of that country. It was with this in mind that I decided to attend the Jihad seminar. While the seminar didn’t change my view of the enemy we faced, it did alter my perceptions on exactly who that enemy was: it wasn’t the entire Muslim world, as I once believed.

Gaining a better understanding of the Middle East is something drastically needed in the United States. UM can and should be at the forefront of that endeavor. With ever-increasing Jewish and Muslim communities on campus and in South Florida, as well as the growing interest of students in general, the demand for courses focused on this very important region of the world is becoming more evident every day. Even with the limited amount of courses offered on topics related to the Middle East such as Dr. Pete Moore’s courses on Middle Eastern politics and terrorism, Dr. David Graf’s upcoming course on pre-Islamic Arabia or even the two courses in Arabic taught by Professor Abla Khalil, registration numbers show that students are interested. In addition, with a strong program in Judaic studies already in existence that cross-references Dr. Moore’s aforementioned course, the basis for a degree program in Middle Eastern Studies already exists.

The administration, working with Student Government, should actively pursue the creation of a course of curriculum as well as additional full-time faculty to establish an academic major in Middle Eastern Studies. UM seeks to be not only one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the United States, but one of the top research institutions as well. Establishment of a Middle Eastern Studies program should be an essential element toward that end.

Scott Wacholtz can be contacted at s.wacholtz@umiami.edu.

April 23, 2004

Reporters

The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami


Around the Web
  • Miami Herald
  • UM News
  • HurricaneSports

The Miami Hurricanes are running low on tight ends. But their receivers — notably sophomore speedste ...

A six-pack of Hurricanes notes on a Tuesday: ▪ The pretty even split of carries between Travis Homer ...

The University of Miami has lost another player to surgery, and the depth was already lacking at thi ...

A six-pack of UM notes on a Monday: ▪ There has been no more popular or successful quarterback at UM ...

The Miami Hurricanes’ defense leads the nation in tackles for loss and stopping opponents on third d ...

New technology could help schools identify shooters and other intruders before they enter the door. ...

A University of Miami professor has created software to detect fraud in standardized tests. ...

UM President Julio Frenk outlined the strategies of the Roadmap to Our New Century, part of his Stat ...

Students attending Monday night's State of the U address by UM President Julio Frenk offer thei ...

At UM’s inaugural State of the U address, President Julio Frenk detailed the strategies of the Roadm ...

Jeff Thomas may be quiet off the field, but the sophomore has been consistently making lots of noise ...

The Atlantic Coast Conference announced Tuesday the league slate for the upcoming 2018-19 season. ...

Miami remained ranked in both major polls Sunday, checking in at No. 21 in the Associated Press Top ...

The Miami Hurricanes came to Toledo, Ohio for the biggest home game in the history of Toledo footbal ...

A quartet of University of Miami men's tennis student-athletes concluded the final day of compe ...

TMH Twitter
About TMH

The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.