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At the end of the Spring 2016 semester, NELC is happy to spotlight some of the accomplishments and plans of our students. A happy and safe summer to all!

Basem Al-Raba'a: Congratulations on your post-graduate employment! Can you talk a little about where you're going, and what you hope to accomplish there?

I have just been hired as a visiting instructor of Arabic at Oberlin College in Oberlin, Ohio. I will be moving to Oberlin at the end of July, and will start my work this coming fall. I will be the primary instructor of the Arabic program at Oberlin, teaching both Arabic language and content courses. I hope to build a strong Arabic program and to expand extracurricular activities; my expertise and the excellent professional training I received in the NELC Department will serve me greatly in developing the Arabic program there. During the 2016-2017 academic year, I will also be working on my dissertation, which I plan to defend in March 2017.

Seyed Asghari: Congratulations on being granted a College of Arts and Science Travel Award! Where do you plan to go, and what do you hope to accomplish there?

With the travel awards that I was honored to receive from College of Arts and Sciences and IU's Islamic Studies program, I plan to attend two conferences in May 2016. My first presentation will be at the 2nd international conference (held on May 7-8) on Shi`ite Studies in London's Islamic College for Advanced Studies. I will present my paper on mystical-philosophical theology and its opponents and adherents in contemporary Shi`a seminaries. I will also attend the 6th Annual Islamic Studies Graduate Student Conference, to be held at the University of California, Santa Barbara between May 20th and 22nd, 2016. At this conference, I will discuss the Albanian Sufi master Baba Rexheb who was forced to leave his country during the communist regime and migrated to the USA, where he was able to build his Sufi lounge and share the doctrine of the Sufi Order he belonged to.

Michael Bevers: Congratulations on being awarded funding to travel to al-Jadidah, Morrocco to present at a conference there! We understand that your dissertation has a large focus on Taha Abderrahmane, who is also scheduled to be in attendance. What does it mean to you to be able to go and meet with him?

I want to thank everyone for the kind and generous offers of support for this trip, including Professor Yahya Benkhedda who organized the conference and epitomizes Moroccan hospitality, and Dr. Mohammed Hashash for introducing me to the conference organizers. I am pleased to inform you that my gracious Moroccan hosts did indeed fully fund my trip. The trip itself was wonderful. I attended numerous panels discussing ethics and dialogue in both Arabic and English. I furthermore had the chance to meet many scholars in the Arab world working on Taha Abderrahmane's thought. I also had the opportunity to meet with Taha Abderrahmane himself on three separate occasions. This has been invaluable for my dissertation research. I was awarded by Taha Abderrahmane the Taha Abderrahmane Award for Intellectual Creativity for best Graduate Student Paper. I am thrilled to say the least. This trip has been an overall success for me and my project. It has been an honor representing NELC and Indiana University abroad. For me in many ways this is a culmination of my academic desires and goals, as I feel I am hoping to create lifelong friendships and lifelong colleagues who share these very same goals. I could not ask for anything more.

Zhaoya Colley: Congratulations on being selected from hundreds of applications to be the graduate speaker at the May 7th convocation! What does it mean to you to be selected for such an honor?

It is a great honor to have been selected as the graduate speaker at the 2016 SGIS Graduation Convocation. I started developing interests in the Middle East when I was working as a Producer for a South African TV station in Beijing, China. We covered many stories on China's foreign relations. One area that caught my attention is the triangular relations between China, United States and the Middle East. When I moved to Indiana University Bloomington with my husband in 2012, I started auditing Arabic classes at NELC and enrolled in its Master's degree program in 2014. It was through NELC that over the past two years I have been able to structure my studies in an academic environment. The faculty support has been exceptional and has mentored me in pursuing my goals. SGIS has been the perfect fit for my research and professional interests. It has enriched my life tremendously and has opened multiple new doors.

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