The Center for Contemporary Arab studies welcomed Dr. Fatima Badry of the American University of Sharjah as a visiting scholar last semester and this past summer. Dr. Badry’s work considers issues of “Arabness” and modernity, and her research specifically investigates the impact of language-in-education policies adopted by the UAE on the development of Arabic language literacy and on Arab identity, and addresses the social and cultural transformations that are likely to result from the “Englishization” of the educational sector. She shared some thoughts about her experience at CCAS:
During my sabbatical leave, the Center has been a home away from home. Georgetown faculty associated with the Center made my experience a very pleasant and productive one. I had the opportunity to interact with many professors who share my areas of interest, as well as with students in the Master of Arts in Arab Studies (MAAS) program. I benefited a great deal from meeting these scholars and exchanging ideas with them. And, not only was I able to carry out my research as planned, but I participated in many activities:
I gave a guest lecture in Dr. Fida Adely’s class, “Knowledge, Power & Politics: Education in the Middle East & North Africa,” which covered a variety of topics on education in the MENA region. I spoke about my research on global English and identity in the UAE, which engaged students in thoughtful discussion.
Dr. Reem Bassiouney invited me to participate in the 2010 Georgetown University Round Table (GURT) conference, which took on the topic of Arabic linguistics. I chaired a panel on sociolinguistics. During the three-day event, I networked with many colleagues from all over the world, some of whom I knew, and others I met for the first time.
I also participated in the CCAS annual symposium on media in the Arab world, “Information Evolution in the Arab World.” This was another great opportunity to meet and network with scholars, this time communication specialists studying the region.
As for my research, I completed a chapter entitled “Appropriating English: Languages in identity construction in the UAE” and an article entitled “Globalization and the transplantation of Western higher education in the UAE: The challenge of aligning education reforms with national identity.” The Georgetown University library services were very beneficial in carrying out this research.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the CCAS staff, who were so helpful and welcoming. Special thanks go to Associate Director Rania Kiblawi for all her help in making my stay at the Center a memorable one.