Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State professor awarded Fulbright to teach in Middle East

August 4, 2011

An Indiana State professor will soon witness some elements discussed in his Middle Eastern geography course from a nearby window.

Mohamed Elyassini, ISU associate professor of geography, received a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach a geography course at the United Arab Emirates University. The course will require students to think critically, to learn and write about interdisciplinary topics and to collaborate with others, he wrote in his Fulbright project statement. Elyassini also will lecture and present his research while establishing partnerships with colleagues and research centers for potential future research, he added.

"I expect to get some fresh feedback from my U.A.E. students and audiences when teaching courses or giving guest lectures or presentations," Elyassini said in his project statement. "In this way I expect to learn new facts and update my ‘old' lecture notes for my current research and for my students back home."

Elyassini is one of about 1,100 U.S. grant recipients who will travel internationally, according to the U.S. Department of State and J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board.

"I am delighted," Elyassini said of winning the award. "It's a great academic honor for me, for Indiana State University and for the United Arab Emirates University."

His Fulbright assignment will begin in September and is scheduled to continue until June.

Elyassini applied for the award in March 2010, and he said that the Fulbright program "is the best academic exchange program that can combine research, teaching and travel." He plans to his discuss his research about some aspects of the economic development of nations in the Global North, which includes the U.S., compared to nations still developing; along with elements of the Palestine-Israel conflict, and how the U.S. is involved.

He pointed out in his Fulbright statement that teaching abroad can bridge cultural gaps and advance scholarly understanding while breaking down stereotypes and prejudices. Elyassini added that professors teaching abroad may have a lot to learn and discuss because of the global image of the U.S., and how it's been damaged by the war on terrorism, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and little progress made in the Palestine-Israel peace process.

"I believe that the values of academic freedom and cultural tolerance promote the kind of persuasive scholarly engagement capable of creating the right environment for bridging cultures by encouraging moral and political judgment to be to be rooted in tangible facts, not the other way around," Elyassini said in his Fulbright statement.

He wanted to teach in the United Arab Emirates for several reasons, including its location between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, which is "quite remarkable and attractive from the perspective of political geographers interested in geopolitics" and future relations between the U.S. and the Middle East, Elyassini wrote in his project statement.

He added that the United Arab Emirates has enjoyed rapid growth, along with political stability and a close relationship with the United States.

Photo: (Submitted Photo)
Mohamed Elyassini, ISU associate professor of geography

Media Contact and Writer: Austin Arceo, assistant director of media relations, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-3790 or

Story Highlights

Mohamed Elyassini, ISU associate professor of geography, received a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach this coming academic year at the United Arab Emirates University.

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