الاثنين، 9 مايو 2016

اقتراح لمؤتمر

Bridging the Gap between Saudi Arabia and the USA
 through Establishing American Studies  Departments and Centers


A Proposal

By

Mazin S. Motabagani
Associate professor of Orientalistics


The Arabs before the advent of Islam were well versed in trade and commerce which called for real knowledge of the surrounding countries and empires. This was developed after Islam and the Muslim State became a major power in the World politics. The real encouragement of Islam in promoting learning and exploration of the world created fast literature about other peoples and nations.

Muslim travelers became real references about many countries such as the travels of ibn Fadhlan, Ibn Hawqal and others.

Then Muslim world faced decadence and backwardness which affected their interest in learning about other nations and peoples until the renaissance that came about in the late nineteenth century with the beginning of the educational missions to Europe and the USA. In this period we find the writings of Rifaa Altahtawi, Khairdeen Tunisi and others. However these early writings did not develop in an academic discipline such as Orientalism, area studies and regional studies in the West.

Recently the relationship between Saudi Arabia and the USA faced a strong setback with the events of 9/11. Though both parties have spent great efforts to restore these relations, but real work still needed. Therefore in order to improve the relations between Saudi Arabia and the USA and bridge the gap between the two countries particularly after the 9/11 incident which deteriorated drastically, Saudi Arabia should take the initiative to establish American Studies Centers at the leading Saudi universities. These Centers should facilitate means and ways to educate the Saudi intellectuals and the policy makers about critically important issues of the west and particularly the USA: past and present. ­These studies should benefit from the models set by the Middle Eastern Studies Centers and departments in the United States and Europe. Saudi students should enroll in different departments at American universities to study American History, government, society literature..etc.

This paper will look into the prospects of establishing these studies and the great effects they could have in bridging the gap between the two friendly nations and governments.


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