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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 13, 2005

Photo: UI student Brooke Sherrard with Tony, an Iraqi refugee she met while studying Arabic in Jordan. Tony is one of an estimated half million Iraqi refugees living in Jordan.

UI Graduate Student To Speak On 'Lessons from Jordan' Sept. 22

University of Iowa graduate student Brooke Sherrard will share "Lessons from Jordan" in the first International Thursdays lecture of the new semester, Sept. 22 from noon to 1 p.m. in the International Center Lounge. The lecture series, formerly known as International Mondays, is sponsored by UI International Programs. It is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served.

Sherrard traveled to Jordan to study Arabic this summer with the assistance of a Foreign Language and Area Studies (FLAS) fellowship. The fellowship was awarded by the International Studies National Resource Center, which is supported by a U.S. Department of Education grant. Sherrard went to Jordan with the intention of learning Arabic, but she came back having learned much more.

"For the many Americans who have never had the opportunity to travel to the Middle East, popular discourse, along with conflict-oriented news coverage, can unfairly paint the entire region as dangerous," Sherrard said. "That which is newsworthy rarely, if ever, accurately reflects everyday life."

The highlights of Sherrard's summer in Jordan included living in an all-female dorm, spending time with families in their homes and visiting Jordan's natural and archaeological sites. She also volunteered with a non-governmental organization providing informal education to about 60 Iraqi children, who were among the 500,000 Iraqi refugees who have poured into Jordan as a result of the war in Iraq.

Sherrard is interested in questions of religion, conflict and politics, and particularly in how Americans' religious beliefs shape their political views on the Middle East. She is currently working on a master's degree in religious studies and plans to pursue a doctorate and become a professor of religious studies.

For more information on this lecture or International Thursdays, contact Amy Green at 319-335-1433 or

The International Thursdays series is sponsored by UI International Programs and the Stanley-UI Foundation Support Organization and presents discussions with individuals who have had international experiences. The lectures are usually from noon to 1 p.m. every Thursday in the International Center Lounge or other locations on campus throughout the academic year with the exception of holidays and breaks. In spring 2006, the series will return to International Mondays.

UI International Programs consists of a number of offices, centers, degree programs, academic programs, research projects and services. Organized under the associate provost and dean of international programs, these units serve to further internationalize the campus and the community and promote global scholarship, research and teaching.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACTS: Media: Lois Gray, 319-335-2026,; Program: Amy Green, 319-335-1433,; Writer: Po Li Loo