North Central College’s Middle Eastern and North African (MENA) studies minor has added courses and faculty since its launch in the fall of 2014.
With help from a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, which has partially funded the program, North Central has helped to instill a multi-dimensional understanding of MENA cultures across campus.
The key to the campus-wide MENA expansion and student engagement of the program has been the addition of the two faculty members, Esra Tasdelen and Maha Mourad. Tasdelen is an adjunct professor of Arabic and MENA as well as the MENA coordinator. Mourad is serving as the Fulbright Scholar-in-Residence and has been since the 2015-2016 academic year.
Tasdelen, who has taught Elementary Arabic (1-3) and Introduction to the Peoples and Cultures of the Middle East and North Africa, has aided in the process of organizing and the leading of cultural events, lectures, field trips and a noncredit Verandah course. Her projects include a TIP Talk on the Syrian refugee crisis and a globalization event on the city of Istanbul, the city’s history, its significance and a personal narrative about the city done by Tasdelen. She has done all of this with the assistance of Mourad.