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University of Iowa News Release


April 1, 2008

Convocation examines modern Muslim societies April 3-5

"Transitions in Modern Muslim Societies" will be the theme of the ninth annual University of Iowa Crossing Borders Convocation Thursday, April 3, through Saturday, April 5, on the University of Iowa campus.

The convocation is free and open to the public and will feature distinguished visiting speakers as well as panel discussions by Crossing Borders fellows and UI faculty.

"Change is a constant in the modern world. Nowhere is that more evident than when comparing contemporary Muslim societies," said Rex Honey, convocation organizer and professor in the UI Department of Geography in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

"The convocation addresses the ways Muslim societies are changing. We will explore the vast differences among a group of societies, some of which have no more in common than being Muslim. We need to understand both the changes and the differences among these societies as we move more deeply into the 21st century."

The convocation begins at 3 p.m. Thursday, April 3, in the International Commons, 1117 University Capitol Centre (UCC) with a welcome by Honey and William Reisinger, associate provost and dean of UI International Programs. A keynote speech by Bimal Paul from the Department of Geography at Kansas State University will follow. The speech, "Transitions in Bangladesh," will be followed by a film by Ines Hoffman Kanna and a panel discussion from 7 to 9 p.m.

Activities continue Friday, April 4, in 1117 UCC with a series of lectures by visiting speakers and UI faculty, covering a wide range of issues including the trafficking of women in Turkey, Islam in Indonesia, and transitions in Turkey, Indonesia, North Africa and Morocco. Friday's events will conclude with a panel discussion from 7 to 9 p.m. on the theme of the convocation by a group of UI faculty.

Saturday events will begin at 9:30 a.m. with a lecture on micro-finance in South Asia by Crossing Borders Fellow Luke Juran. Additional lectures by visiting scholars and UI faculty and graduate students will cover issues including public health in Indonesia and Uzbekistan's new alphabet system.

The Crossing Borders Program was created 10 years ago in response to the scholarly challenges brought on by globalization. The annual convocation serves as a forum for the presentation of research by UI faculty and graduate students as well as invited lecturers.

The Crossing Borders Program is funded by UI International Programs. The Crossing Borders Program, International Programs and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences sponsor the convocation.

For more information, a schedule of events or special accommodations to attend the convocation, see or contact Heidi Vekemans at or 319-335-3862.

Crossing Borders is affiliated with International Programs, which enables UI students, faculty, staff and the public to learn from and about the world. Its offices, degree programs and events provide life-changing opportunities on campus and abroad, heighten intellectual and cultural diversity, and give all university constituents access to vital international knowledge. For more information see International Programs is part of the UI Office of the Provost.

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

MEDIA CONTACT: Kelli Andresen, UI International Programs, 319-335-2026,; Writer: Lini Ge