Portland State University Library Awarded $2,000 from the United States Institute of Peace to Support Public Education for Peacebuilding to support Muslim Journeys programming.
Author: Tam Rankin, Middle East Studies Center
Posted: January 24, 2013

Portland, OR – The Portland State University Library has received $2,000 in funding support from the Public Education for Peacebuilding Support initiative of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP).  The support will enable the Portland State University Library and Middle East Studies Center to present programming to introduce, promote, complement and contextualize the Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys, a collection of books, films, and other resources chosen with a view to familiarizing the American public with Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world.

Events will include presentations by Muslim Journeys Project Scholar, Kambiz GhaneaBassiri, Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Reed College; Dick Davis, Professor of Persian and Chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures, Ohio State University; Stephen Dale, Professor Emeritus of History, Ohio State University; Aria Menu-Sepehr; author of We Heard the Heavens Then, a memoir about the Iranian Revolution; and Bishupal Limbu, Assistant Professor of English, Portland State University.

Portland State University Interim Vice Provost for International Affairs remarked, “As Oregon’s largest and most diverse public university, located at the heart of on of America’s most progressive cities, Portland State places students in a vibrant and varied cultural center. The Middle East Studies Center squarely aligns its public programming with the University’s motto, ‘Let Knowledge Serve the City’.”

“The United State Institute of Peace is pleased to support organizations like Portland State University and their contribution to the national conversation around international conflict – and methods for resolving those conflicts nonviolently,” commented United States Institute for Peace President Jim Marshall.

The United States Institute of Peace is the independent, nonpartisan conflict management center created by Congress to prevent and mitigate international conflict without resorting to violence. USIP works to save lives, increase the government’s ability to deal with conflicts before they escalate, reduce government costs, and enhance national security. The United State Institute of Peace is headquartered in Washington, DC with offices in Baghdad, Iraq, and Kabul, Afghanistan.

As part of its congressional mandate, the United State Institute of Peace devotes a portion of its budget to support organizations that will advance the field of conflict management by developing new techniques, establishing best practices, and professionalizing the field through education and training. The Public Education for Peacebuilding Support is a program of USIP administered by the Institute of International Education. 

As a National Resource Center for Middle East Studies under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title VI program, the Middle East Studies Center promotes understanding of the people, cultures, languages, and religions of the Middle East. Under this mandate, Portland State University supports collections, scholarship, research, teaching and programming about Islam and the cultural heritage of Islamic civilizations around the world.

Recent and ongoing events in the Middle East underscore the growing need to understand the region. As audiences continue t be bombarded by media images of war, violence and protests, it is critical to put a human face on the Middle East and Islam and to promote knowledge about the diversity of its cultures and societies. The Muslim Journeys collection and associated programming will provide audiences with insight into Islam from a variety of perspectives. Participants will work to break down traditional stereotypes and assumptions held about Islam and the Middle East.

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

The Portland State University Library is at the heart of the Portland State community, and is committed to providing excellence and innovation in research, teaching, and learning support.  Along with its diverse collection of information resources, the University Library offers special collections and archives that feature unique materials of regional and scholarly interest; produces an extensive array of user-centered information services; and delivers a strong instruction program dedicated to improving students’ academic success. Located in an iconic building in the beautiful South Park Blocks, the Portland State University Library serves the largest student body in the Oregon University System, providing collaborative study spaces and technology-enabled environments designed to enhance students’ learning experiences. | | 503-725-5874

The Middle East Studies Center at Portland State University serves as a resource on issues pertaining to the Middle East through activities that reach students and scholars, as well as businesses, educators, and the media. The Middle East Studies Center supports academic conferences, workshops, cultural events, lectures, and a resource library. | | 503-725-4074