PULLMAN, Wash. — As part of an effort to expand understanding and knowledge of Islamic societies and cultures, Washington State University has become one of a small number of U.S. colleges and universities awarded a Fulbright grant to host a visiting specialist from a Muslim country.

Author and professor of English language and literature at Abdelmalek Essaedi University in Tetouan, Morocco, Abdellatif Akbib is scheduled to appear as a visiting scholar on the WSU campus from March 21 to April 25. His schedule will include a number of class visits and public talks about Islamic culture and society.

Akbib’s visit is being funded through a Fulbright Visiting Specialists: Direct Access to the Muslim World program grant application secured by Marina Tolmacheva, associate dean, WSU College of Liberal Arts. The program is an initiative sponsored by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

WSU is among 25 American colleges and universities that will be hosting two-to-six-week visits by 23 scholars and professionals from Middle Eastern and other Muslim countries under the program this year.

All Fulbright program alumni, the Muslim scholars and professionals will visit American institutions that desire to enrich their understanding of Islamic, Middle Eastern, North African and South Asian societies and cultures.

The visiting Fulbright specialists are expected to engage U.S. institutions and communities in a variety of educational dialogues, as well as assist in the development of courses, programs and exchange activities and relationships to enhance mutual cultural understanding.


As part of a program slated to run through September 2005, the visiting specialists may present lectures or short courses, team-teach with their American colleagues, assist in program and curriculum development, or talk with community groups, service clubs, schools and religious groups.

Two other Fulbright recipients from abroad are currently at WSU doing research in residence at WSU.

Olga Ivanovna Kershanskaya, head of the Laboratory of Photosynthesis at the Institute of Plant Physiology, Genetics and Bioengineering in Almaty, Kazakhstan, recently began researching genetic modification of wheat photosynthesis to increase yield on the Pullman campus and will continue her work there through the end of 2004.

Nina Elisabeth Nagy, research officer for the Norwegian Forest Research Institute in As, Norway, began researching molecular compounds involved in the signaling of defense responses in Norwegian spruce trees on the Pullman campus earlier this year and will continue through August.

Nearly 800 foreign scholars received awards this year to come to the United States. Most of the awards support research by the recipients. Almost 82,000 scholars worldwide have participated in the program since its inception in 1946.

The Fulbright award program is sponsored by the Department of State, with additional funding provided by the participating governments and host institutions in the United States and abroad. The Council for International Exchange of Scholars is a private, non-profit organization that manages the Fulbright senior scholar exchange.