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Middle East Courses Good for the University

This item originally appeared in the Feb. 5, 2004, issue of The Tech Talk.

Kudos to the College of Liberal Arts and its dean, Dr. Edward C. Jacobs, for bringing the world to the university.

Four pilot classes will be offered this spring that will relate to the Middle East and will offer students a chance to listen to a series of top-notch speakers, including novelist and filmmaker Elizabeth Fernea, U.S. foreign policy historian Peter Hahn, Washington Post correspondent Lee Hockstader and research historian Mark Tessler.

The Tech Talk wishes to express its appreciation for those in Liberal Arts, such as Dr. Brian Etheridge, an assistant professor of history, who have worked hard to bring these distinguished, nationally known speakers to the university and illuminate the world for students in such an interdisciplinary manner.

The Middle East is a hotspot of action, and this generation needs to be educated on the war conflict, customs and foreign relations with developing nations.

The Tech Talk believes bringing world-wise speakers to the university is something we should strive for, especially with current conflicts in Iraq. These classes and speakers could be one of the best actions the university has made.

Classes concerning the Middle East offered this spring consist of History 528, Seminar on American Foreign Relations taught by Etheridge; associate professor of journalism Dr. Reginald Owens' Journalism 440 class on Media and Culture; Political Science 460, Policies of Developing Nations taught by Dr. Jo Allen Richardson, an associate professor of social sciences; and Liberal Arts 494C, The Art and Culture of the Middle East taught by Dr. Kenneth Robbins, director and a professor of the School of Performing Arts.

The paper believes these classes will make a significant difference in the way students watch the news, communicate with international students and make informed decisions on American issues.

Students need to have an awareness of world concerns, and one of the best ways to enlighten students is for them to hear firsthand accounts on news going on today.

The American and Middle Eastern people are experiencing a clash of civilizations, and part of that struggle is happening in our own back yard with our multicultural population.

We believe the cooperation between the Liberal Arts departments in order to arrange these speakers is a great effort and we hope that more collaboration will continue.

Tech's students are a valuable asset to the world, and in order to stay a notable university, we must allow students as many chances as possible to gain insight on other cultures, societies and traditions.

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