Sept. 7, 2005

Visit by Bassam Tibi begins with panel discussion on Muslim Diaspora, with scholar Ali Mazrui, Sept. 12

Bassam Tibi, director of the Center for International Affairs at the University of Göttingen, Germany, will participate in several public events during his first visit to campus as a Cornell University Andrew Dickson White Professor-at-Large. Tibi is an international relations expert on modern Islam, Arab nationalism, democracy and religion, and the multifaceted challenges of globalization confronting both Islam and Europe. The visit begins with a special panel discussion that includes Ali Mazrui, world-renowned Africanist.

  • Monday, Sept. 12, "Is There a Muslim Diaspora? Promises and Challenges of Islam in Europe, Africa and North America," co-sponsored with the Institute for European Studies (IES), at 4:30 p.m. in 401 Warren Hall. Tibi and Mazrui, who is director of the Institute of Global Studies and Albert Schweitzer Professor in Humanities at Binghamton University, will be joined by Nimat Hafez Barazangi, Cornell research fellow in Feminist, Gender and Sexuality Studies. Davydd Greenwood, IES director and Cornell Goldwin Smith Professor of Anthropology, will moderate.

Panelists will focus on global Africa, Europe and North America, a shift from discussing Islam and Muslims in the familiar geographic and geopolitical boundaries of the Middle East. The goal is to generate an overall framework for understanding issues of conflict from within the historical legacy of Islam that moves beyond discourses focused only on cultural difference. For complete information, visit the IES Web site http://www.einaudi.cornell.edu/europe/.

Tibi will participate in the following Cornell events, which also are free and open to the public:

  • Tuesday, Sept. 13, "Islam in Public Schools in Europe," a lecture and discussion co-sponsored by the Department of German Studies, at 4:30 p.m. in Kaufmann Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall. Discussants include Tibi and Leila Mohsen Ibrahim, a Cornell doctoral student in Government. As Islam acquires new forms of visibility in European public spheres, public schools in Europe face new administrative and curricular challenges in an attempt to balance secular principles and religious rights. While the so-called headscarf debates in various countries have received wide coverage in the international press, other facets of this broader phenomenon are less well-known. Particular attention will be paid to the German case as panelists offer some comparative reflections on headscarf debates in Germany, France and Great Britain.
  • Thursday, Sept. 15, Cornell Peace Studies Program seminar, "The European Islamic Diaspora: Between Integration and Islamism," at 12:15 p.m. in G08 Uris Hall.
  • Monday, Sept. 19, Near Eastern Studies seminar, "Democracy in the Arab World," at 4:30 p.m. in 106 White Hall.
  • Thursday, Sept. 22, Clarke Fund for the Middle East Speaker, sponsored by the Clarke Center for International and Comparative Legal Studies, "Is Shari'a a Constitutional Law?" at 4 p.m. in G85 Myron Taylor Hall.
  • Saturday, Sept. 24, "Euro-Islam and Leitkultur in Germany," at 2:30 p.m. in Hollis E. Cornell Auditorium, Goldwin Smith Hall. Tibi's lecture is part of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Weekend at Cornell, hosted by the Department of German Studies and titled "Made in Germany: Kinematics, Culture and Politics."

Tibi is known for his views on contemporary forms of Islam and perspectives, which challenge both those who consider Islam a foreign body in Europe and religious fundamentalists who want to shape civil society in their image.

His books and articles on modern Islam, Arab nationalism, democracy and religion, and the challenges that Islam and Europe jointly face in the age of globalization are published widely in English, Arabic, German and French.

His recent books include: "The Challenge of Fundamentalism: Political Islam and the New World Disorder," "Islam Between Culture and Politics" and "Conflict and War in the Middle East." He was awarded the Medal of State/First Class (1995) by the president of Germany, selected Man of the Year in 1997 by the American Biographical Institute and shared the 2003 Swiss Foundation for European Awareness Prize Award with Professor Michael Wolffsohn of Munich, who specializes in the history of German-Jewish relations.