|Seven Northwestern College faculty and staff will spend spring break March 1–10 in Oman, engaging in interfaith dialogue and laying the groundwork for a Northwestern-operated semester study abroad program.
Sociology professor Dr. Scott Monsma has twice taken students to Oman as part of a three-week study abroad course. This time he will be accompanied to the Arab nation by colleagues: theatre professor Karen Barker; psychology professor Dr. Daniela Cambetas; resident directors Lisa Barber and Brian Moriarty; and Dr. Doug Carlson and Carrie Krohn of Northwestern’s study abroad office.
Monsma expects what the group learns to impact intercultural understanding as well as recruitment of students for the future Oman program.
“It’s going to change us,” he says of the trip. “We’re going to come back different, and we’ll be sharing our experiences with students.”
In preparation for their time in Oman, the group was joined by others on campus in reading and discussing “No god but God: The Origins, Evolution, and Future of Islam.” While in Oman, the seven will meet with faculty and staff of Sultan Qaboos University, visit a mosque, and build ties critical to the later development of an Oman study abroad semester. Assisting them in their efforts will be Michael Bos, coordinator of the Al Amana Centre, a Reformed Church in America mission in Oman.
Upon their return, the seven will present a public forum at Northwestern to share their perspectives about participating in an interfaith dialogue, relating to others in a multi-ethnic, multi-religious environment; and living out one’s faith in a global context.
The exploratory trip was funded in part by monies from Northwestern’s $2.5 million Lilly Grant.