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Building a 'City of Ideas'

Anouar Majid has global ambitions for our city.

The University of New England professor is working hard to broaden Portland’s horizons, creating a “city of ideas” via a series of humanities discussions and the establishment of a UNE campus in Morocco.

The scope of that vision is evidenced by one of Majid’s titles – vice president of global affairs at UNE. It is a title he takes seriously as shown by his work:

As part of that series, on Nov. 22, Jeremy Gunn, associate professor of International Relations at Al Akhawayn University, Morocco, is speaking about “Seeking the Truth in the Kennedy Assassination;” and on Nov. 25, Jeffrey Wasserstrom, professor at UC Irvine, will discuss his book “China in the 21st Century: What Everyone Needs to Know.” These free events are at 6 p.m. on UNE’s Portland Campus.

At the heart of Majid’s efforts is his belief in the need to prepare UNE students to be innovators, leaders and problem-solvers in an increasingly global society. Majid says that UNE’s Tangier presence will add a new chapter (anchored right here in Portland) to U.S.-Moroccan relations, building the foundations of a much-needed dialogue between the Western and Muslim worlds. 

“U.S. policymakers have been struggling to reach out to the Arab and Muslim worlds,” he says. “Our presence in Tangier, the meeting point of Europe, Africa, and the Arab world, will build trust and allow our students to discover multiple cultures and languages at once.”

UNE’s new campus is within walking distance of downtown Tangier, the Mediterranean, and the city’s beaches, hotels, soon-to-be built marina, and major cultural activities. The city of Tangier is the historic gateway to Morocco, home to an international contingent of painters and writers, and is now emerging as one of the major economic and cultural hubs in the country.

Majid is passionate about bringing “big thinkers” to Maine. The Center for Global Humanities offers seminars and lectures by leading scholars from around the world who are doing innovative scholarship. Because the center believes in the importance of bringing humanities culture into civic and democratic life, it is working closely with the local community to encourage reading, discussion, and debate. The discussion series is at the heart of that effort.

Majid says, “Analyzing the state of our cultures today is as important as any medical or technological breakthrough.”

Resources:

* Follow Majid’s blog that covers his travels (often to Tangier).

* For more information, visit www.une.edu/cgh

 

 

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