Northwestern campuses launch Cross Campus Lectures series

Northwestern University students in Qatar and Evanston came together via video conferencing to discuss the plight of Syrian refugees as part of a series co-hosted by the Northwestern-Evanston political science and Northwestern-Qatar liberal arts departments. 

The first “Cross Campus Conversations,” moderated by Jocelyn Mitchell, assistant professor in the Liberal Arts Program at NU-Q, offered students on both campuses the opportunity to listen to Wendy Pearlman, assistant professor in the Department of Political Science in Evanston discuss her upcoming book, “We Crossed a Bridge and it Trembled: Voices from Syria.”

“Students on our two campuses often come from different backgrounds that shape different perspectives,” said Pearlman, the Martin and Patricia Koldyke Outstanding Teaching Professor. “A huge part of college is exposure and engagement with such diversity. Our Qatar campus multiplies opportunities for global and cross-cultural education.”

During the session, students and faculty from both campuses engaged in a dialogue that explored Pearlman’s alternative approach to analyzing the Syrian refugee crisis.

Students also discussed the recent U.S. immigration executive order and the ongoing narratives surrounding it. “The stories of refugees are often mediated through 10,000-word journalism, while oral history gives us the direct accounts,” said Mitchell.

The conversation also gave students on both campuses a unique opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers studying on different continents, but sharing the same university. 

A student at NU-Q, Wajeeha Malik, spent a semester on the Evanston campus said the session was a “perfect opportunity to talk to students in America about the current crisis and ongoing political upheaval, and hear from a scholar of the Syrian refugee situation. I think in the future it would also be helpful to discuss possible solutions from a student perspective."