SEEK Professor Wins Fulbright-Hays Award to Study in North Africa

May 24, 2011

Judith Corbett Carter, an assistant professor in the SEEK Department, wants to help the Brooklyn College community celebrate its religious diversity. After a trip to Morocco and Tunisia, funded by the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program, she will be able to do just that.

Corbett Carter has been selected to join a team of 16 educators who will travel this summer to the westernmost region of North Africa, known as the Maghreb, to study religious diversity. The area is home to many old settlements of Christians, Jews and Muslims. Upon returning — as a requirement of the program but also as part of her own scholarly inclinations — she will put together a seminar for students that will take a hard look at religious diversity.

"When I found out about this seminar, I thought it was interesting because there's such religious diversity in our student population," says Carter, a former probation officer and social worker turned professor who earned a Ph.D. in pastoral counseling. "I think it's incumbent upon me as a professor to learn more about the culture and spirituality of the students I work with every day."

The group will travel in June and July, exploring issues of "religious tolerance and cooperation among the faiths in shared environments," according to the program.

Corbett Carter says she believes the design of the SEEK program, where students take most of their classes together during their first year, helps to foster more tolerance and is ideal for staging such a seminar.

"I had one class last year with students from Lebanon, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Morocco and Pakistan," she says. "They were all friends. But I'm not sure if they would have been friends outside of the class. It provided for some great discussions."

Created in 1963 as part of the larger Fulbright Program, the Fulbright-Hays Seminars Abroad Program is administered by the U.S. Department of Education and awards grants that support research and training abroad that focuses on non-Western foreign languages and area studies.

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